A story from an experienced donor with Extreme OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome)
I have donated eggs three times, and the first two times were very smooth and uneventful. (In fact, despite the clinic’s protocol, I actually went to work after one retrieval. This is NOT recommended. Do NOT do this!)
After my third retrieval, I woke up & knew something was wrong. I could barely breathe & I felt so sore which had never occurred before. I left the clinic and went right to bed.
Extremely sick, I gained 15-20 lbs of water weight instantly! The doctor wanted to aspirate my ovaries which meant surgery, but my sweet friend cured me!! 😉 She brought me sweet tea from Chick-Fil-A, and the fluid began to break up and I began losing the water weight right away. I was finally on the road to recovery, but I did take some time off work.
My Family is so proud of me for my willingness to help create families despite this fluke experience.
The OHSS was a crazy experience, but to me, continuing to help create families is more important. I would risk it again to continue to help others. I think of the years of heartache and the things these childless families have endured and this little fluke will not prevent me from helping other families in the future.
Despite this horrific event, I have continued my journey as an egg donor & my next retrieval is this week. I know that some may think I am crazy to do another round because of my last experience, but that is where they are wrong! If am I capable to do this & I have the capability to help create a family, why wouldn’t I? I think of all of the horrific things that the intended parents have been through. How could I let one fluke accident prevent me to further help them?
OHSS is Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can occur in 3-6% of women taking fertility meds to stimulate egg production. If the medicines stimulate the ovaries too much, the ovaries can become very swollen & painful in addition, fluid can leak into the belly and chest area. OHSS is not super common and occurs in 3-6% of patients. During your time as an egg donor you will have many monitoring appointments to ensure that your ovaries are not over-responding.
Symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome often begin within a week after using injectable medications to stimulate ovulation, though sometimes it can take two weeks or longer for symptoms to appear. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may worsen or improve over time.
With mild to moderate ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, symptoms can include:
- Mild to moderate abdominal pain that may come and go
- Abdominal bloating or increased waist size
- Tenderness in the area of your ovaries
- With severe ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, you might have:
- Rapid weight gain — more than 2 lbs in 24 hours
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe, persistent nausea and vomiting
- Blood clots
- Decreased urination
- Shortness of breath
- Tight or enlarged abdomen
If you have any symptoms, please consult your clinic right away! They may want you to come in for monitoring & can help advise you if you may need further treatment. Like we said OHSS is very unlikely but it very beneficial to be informed & educated on what to do if you are having any symptoms.
5 Ways to Prevent OHSS
- Adjusting and/or changing your medication protocol.
- Stay hydrated.
- Drink electrolyte filled drinks.
- Eat a high protein diet, salty fries
- Pay attention to your body.
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