Almost everyone asks if egg freezing is painful when they're figuring out if they should freeze their eggs.
So if you're finding yourself stressing out about "does egg freezing hurt?" while you're reading up about it - wondering if the injections are ok, or if the actual procedure to remove your eggs will be a full on nightmare - that's only natural!
The over-simplified answer is:
Some days can be uncomfortable, but not painful, exactly.
The real truth is:
Every woman is different, every body responds in a different way, everyone's experiences of pain are different and there's a degree of variation in what women report back. A minority of women find they struggle with intolerable abdominal pain during the stimulation, others just feel a little pre-menstrual.
In this one minute video, ELANZA Wellness co-founders and authors of Everything Egg Freezing, Brittany Hawkins and Catherine Hendy along with Valerie Landis from Eggsperience answer whether egg freezing hurts, based on their personal experiences:
The best thing you can do is to keep an open mind and not have expectations to sail through egg freezing, just because another woman did - but also not get wrapped up in worrying about it hurting when the vast majority of women find it very manageable.
Do the injections hurt?
These can sting a bit when the hormones first enter your body, but are fine for most people. Your stomach can bruise, so some women find icing it before injecting helpful. You can also take the vial out of the fridge (where it should be stored) for a couple of minutes before injecting so it's not quite so cold. It's also a good idea to vary the exact injection site each day, to avoid beating up one spot.
How painful is the bloating?
This builds up as the treatment progresses, and - honestly - can get pretty uncomfortable. This is particularly true for younger women with higher ovarian reserves and women with PCOS, whose ovaries are likely to respond a lot to the hormones and produce a lot of big follicles. Big follicles translates to swollen ovaries jangling around, more fluid in your abdomen, and everything feeling kind of squashed. Not fun. But this should only really happen from the "trigger shot" close to the end of treatment and should start to subside right after the actual procedure to remove eggs. Remember that if you experience very severe bloating, or it's getting worse rather than better, that could be a sign of Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome (OHSS), and you should flag that up to your doctor urgently.
Will the procedure be painful?
The actual procedure itself should be painless. Because it's conducted under sedative, you won't notice a thing. However, when you come around there could be some discomfort and a little bleeding from where the fine retrieval needle passed through your vaginal wall. In fact, most women report feeling better when they come around after the surgery, as the bloating they were feeling prior to the retrieval starts to subside.
If you want to learn more about the procedure, how it feels and what it entails, watch the full 20 minute discussion among three fellow freezers in which they give answers to the following questions:
Does egg freezing work?
Does egg freezing / ovarian stimulation cause cancer?
What does the egg freezing process involve?
How many eggs should you freeze?
Why do women freeze their eggs?
If you're wondering if egg freezing could be right for you, get the book Everything Egg Freezing: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Doing it Right to help you figure out the decision, financing, and other considerations.