The Eggs That Push Waves to The Shore!
Prior to undergoing egg banking or In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), many people have questions about what they might experience during the process. Routinely, hormones are injected for the purpose of stimulating egg production either for collection of the eggs for freezing to better control timing of pregnancy or for proceeding with IVF.
Patients initially have baseline hormone levels drawn, and at the appropriate time will begin self-injecting the hormones daily for 10-12 days. These hormones stimulate growth of the follicles in the ovaries that enclose the eggs. In a typical natural cycle, the body produces only enough hormone to ripen one egg. However, in order to maximize the success of egg collection and subsequent pregnancy, a patient’s fertility physician will determine the appropriate injectable hormone dose needed to ripen multiple eggs.
During the days that hormones are being injected, follicles are being constantly stimulated, and some people may feel unusual sensations from the developing follicles during those days. The ripening of multiple follicles can feel quite different from the development of a single follicle, as is usual in a normal cycle. Not everyone undergoing follicle stimulation feels these sensations, however, and if they are not felt, this is not necessarily a sign that something is amiss.
Some undergoing hormone injection might feel as if there are “canisters” firing in their ovaries—either single sensations or multiple sensations on both sides. These sensations can be felt during any normal daily activity, and have even been reported to wake some people from sleep. Several ways to calm the sensations have been described, including rest, moving around, distraction with activities, and sleep.
Other patients have described a sensation of “waves” in the abdomen originating in the area of the ovaries and being pushed towards the wall of the abdomen. This sensation has been attributed to the follicles stretching the outer covering of the ovary as they expand in preparation for harvesting following the “trigger shot.”
Not everyone undergoing follicle stimulation will experience the sensations described, and if no sensations are noticed by an individual patient, it does not mean that the treatment is not working. Every individual will have a different experience, and this article is intended to clarify how some sensations might feel.
Please look for additional articles on different aspects of egg harvesting/freezing and IVF as well as related topics in the near future.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your doctor for your specific situation. Lifestyle choices are individuals’ choices.
It is written by Eggschain editors, reviewed by Dr. Carolyn Thompson who is a board-certified OB/gyn, FACOG MD in Medicine, and is also reviewed by Hugh Taylor, MD, the Anita O’Keeffe Young Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine and Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is also Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental biology at Yale University.