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Egg Freezing Process - Physical Aspects
a blog by Sherika Wynter, December 17, 2013
The egg freezing process can take a toll on you physically and emotionally. While some would argue the emotional effect is more important than the physical, the physical aspect cannot be ignored. Prior to my freezing cycle, I scoured the Internet looking for articles where women honed in on their experience: how the body felt, affects on work/social life, any physical scarring, etc. Sadly, the outcome was slim. For this reason, I want to take a moment to recap my experience.
One of the first things performed is a sonogram. For women with endometriosis, trans-vaginal ultrasounds can be very painful. With scar tissue and regrowth, some of us cannot tolerate the exam. For me, sonograms were more uncomfortable than painful. As a woman, be mindful of your limits, explain to the practitioner your vaginal sensitivities but most importantly, try to relax. It may be uncomfortable but it is the beginning of the process.
Once your RE (reproductive endocrinologist) has reviewed the blood work results and sonogram, you will be given injection instructions every other day. You will be doing the injections daily but the dosage will most likely change as your responding to the medication. These injections hurt. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. One trick is to numb the area with ice for 2 minutes prior to injection. You will still feel the pinch but it definitely helps. I also experienced pain while injecting the medication. Keep in mind of the speed you inject the medication. Your intuition will say, “let’s just get this over with” but I would not recommend that. The slower you inject, the less it will hurt.
Another symptom was headaches after every injection. The cause is uncertain; it could’ve just been my body’s reaction. It was a small price to pay, as it would pass within the hour. I also felt exhausted after each injection so if you can, pick a time in the evening where you can relax afterwards. I chose 7pm. My workday was mostly complete by then and if I wanted to just lie in the couch, I was able to.
The final injection prior to retrieval is performed with the biggest needle I’ve ever seen in my life. It is very overwhelming and painful. Icing helps but be prepared for a little pain. Once all the medication has been injected, the injection site will be sore for about an hour. If you’ve ever had a Lupron shot, the feeling is similar.
Aside from the aforementioned procedures, you will have blood drawn and ultrasounds every other day. Hopefully, your RE has early morning appointments so you are able to take advantage of those. Drawing blood and regular imaging becomes routine after time but it is painless.
In an upcoming post, I will speak on the emotional effects of egg freezing.