Medications Used in the Egg Donation Process
The hormone medications are an important process in the egg donation procedure. Each egg donor responds differently to her medication. Some donors will experience no side effects at all. The fertility clinic will instruct each donor on how to self-administer the medications with small needles which are injected into the fatty tissue of the abdomen.
The side effects are low risk and temporary such as headaches, moodiness, bloating and hot flashes. Every donor is different. Some women may experience all of these side affects. Other women may experience some of the side effects or none at all.
GNRH AGONIST – Leuprolide Acetate
One injection per day for approximately 12 days, then one injection per day in conjunction with gonadotropin therapy for a total of 22 days.
The administration of GNH agonist medicine like Lupron is used to prevent release of eggs and to control some of the female hormone levels. Specifically, it affects the pituitary gland and results in lower luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in the body. This approach is used to achieve a response to the IVF medicines and reduce the likelihood of an egg donation cycle being canceled.
These medications are harmless and leave your system immediately after discontinue use.
Ganirelix acetate or Cetrotide
One injection per day or every 3 days taken with gonadotropin therapy. Typically it is added after being on the gonadotropin therapy for 5 days. It is taken for approximately 6 days.
This is used instead of the GNRH agonist medicine Lupron to prevent the eggs from ovulating during the stimulation and allows for more control of the cycle.
Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH or Gonadotropins)
Gonal F, Bravelle, Follistim, Memopur, Repronex
One injection per day for approximately 10 days.
FSH is the very same hormone produced by a woman’s body to mature the eggs within the ovaries during her reproductive cycle. Each egg in the ovary sits in a sac called a follicle. In the treatment of egg donation, FSH medicine is given to develop many follicles and thus make many eggs. The more ovarian follicles produced, the greater chances are for a successful outcome.
Rare Side Effects:
OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) The incidence of severe OHSS is 1-2% of IVF cases. OHSS means that the body has over-responded to the FSH and the ovaries become enlarged. The physician is very careful to avoid this from happening. Should an egg donor experience pain, it is important to seek treatment to avoid serious complications.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG or “Trigger shot")
Ovidrel, Profasi, Pregnyl
One injection approximately 24 hours prior to egg retrieval.
hCG is the name of the pregnancy hormone and is produced by the human placenta. The purpose of administering hCG is to mature the eggs before they are retrieved, like when the sun ripens a fruit. Once the follicles are the right size the egg inside needs to ripen or become mature; hCG medicine makes this happen. It is very important to take this injection because without it the eggs would not be usable for IVF.