Egg Donor Medication

Information on Egg Donor Medication

Now that you have completed the legal contract and it has been signed by all parties, you will begin your egg donor medication. These medications will stimulate your ovaries to produce and grow the eggs. You will learn to give yourself daily injections of hormones. The injections are administered in the lower belly area, for two weeks with a small needle. The injections are simple to administer and feel like nothing more than a tiny bug bite. While taking the medications you will be monitored closely by a fertility doctor to check your response to the hormones through labs and an ultrasound. This is where your commitment is important and your schedule will need to be flexible to accommodate morning appointments. We all do our best to have the appointments early morning so that they do not interfere with school or work. When the eggs are mature, you will return to the cycling clinic for the egg retrieval.

Fertility Drugs

There are two categories of fertility drugs available:
You will be instructed by the IVF nurse at the clinic that you are cycling at on how to administer the medications correctly. You are required to self inject the prescribed medications until the time of the egg retrieval. Lupron or Ganirelix Acetate to quiet your hormones causing suppression to avoid premature ovulation. Follistim, Menopur, Bravelle or Gonal-F to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. HCG 10,000 units, Ovidrel 250 mcg or Lupron trigger dose for the final maturation process of the eggs before retrieval.
Birth Control

Birth control pills are the first egg donor medication used in a donor cycle. The egg donor is  first started on birth control pills once she is approved to become an egg donor and when we’re getting ready for her donation.  The birth control pills suppress the ovaries to keep them quiet.  This stops ovulation from taking place.

If a donor is already on birth control, usually the IVF clinic will try and keep the donor on the same pill unless it is not an approved birth control for this procedure.

Possible Side Effects of Birth Control Pills: Side effects are typically mild and subside once the egg donor stops taking the pill.

  • Moodiness
  •  Nausea
  • Breast soreness
  • Acne
  • Oily Skin
  • Increased appetite
Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH or Gonadotropins)

The most commonly used FSH are Gonal-F, Menopur, and Follistim. These hormones are what the pituitary gland naturally produces in order for eggs to mature. These medications are given by self injection to increase the development of ovarian follicles. FSH is what helps the follicles to grow. 

Possible Side Effects (no long-term side effects have been reported)
  • Headache
  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Breast Pain 
  • Sleepiness 
  • Thirst 
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome is rather rare. Severe OHSS is reported in 1-3% of IVF cases. When this happens, the body has over-responded to the FSH and the ovaries become excessively enlarged. This can be uncomfortable so donors are closely monitored to try and avoid this. Treatment for this condition may include hospitalization and a minor procedure.

GnRH Antagonists

The most commonly used Gonadotropin-releasing hormones antagonist are Cetrotide and Ganirelex Acetate. This medication is a self-administered injection.

This medication is used in egg donation cycles by egg donors to prevent an early release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and a premature ovulation when egg donors are taking follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH).

Possible Side Effects: (No long- term side effects have been reported)
  • Headache
  • Injection site reaction (rash)
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain (gastrointestinal)
  • Nausea
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG or “Trigger shot”)

Most common hCG Trigger shots are  Ovidrel, Lupron hCG

hCG is produced by the human placenta. This shot is given to the donor 36 hours prior to the egg donation retrieval. The “trigger shot” helps the maturation of the follicles. It is critical that the egg donor takes this shot at the exact time prescribed to her by the doctor.

Possible Side Effects (no long-term side effects have been reported)
  • Headache
  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • breast sensitivity
  • increased clear vaginal discharge from the cervix
  • you might feel more emotional than usual
  • Mild weight gain from fluid. This is only temporary so don’t worry!