Egg donation medications and breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 02-20-2009, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am currently pregnant, expecting in April. I am looking into donating eggs through a reputable hospital in my area. However, as I am planning to breastfeed my infant, I am trying to research whether the particular medications they require for egg donation would have a detrimental effect on my nursing infant. Does anybody know where I can find more information on this? Thank Q!!
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#2 of 5 Old 02-20-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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Essentially you would be using the same meds you use as if you were doing IVF or IUI/injects. The meds themselves wouldn't have an effect on your milk supply, exactly... but by causing you to ovulate and menstruate you would under go the same decrease in supply that can happen when those things normally occur. Some women have a drop in supply around O, or after O, etc. The meds themselves won't be harmful to your child - they are naturally occurring hormones, LH and FSH. (Actually - it's possible they would suppress you with lupron or similar as well - which I don't know about, from a breastfeeding standpoint)

Women typically don't get periods while nursing so you might need to induce one artificially to begin this whole process. You could use birth control pills, which can dry up supply if you use combination pills... or progesterone... which I think has no effect on milk...

Why would you want to undertake this while nursing an infant?

I have not done egg donation but I have done fertility treatment. The process can be pretty draining. All the ultrasounds to check things, all the medication juggling, the shots themselves... it's stressful. I guess if you were just donating it would be a one time deal, not cycle after cycle, but still. The process itself could be stressful.

Not to mention, a lot of doctors won't let you do fertility if you are nursing - I am not sure if this would apply if donating. The meds are hormones, they take over completely, so it's not that nursing keeps it from working... I think it's just they don't want to get you pregnant if your body doesn't want to be? Ie isn't menstruating on its own?

But if donating, not a concern. Still, I don't know how docs would view that.

It's a nice thing to want to do for someone, I just don't see the need to combine it with nursing.

DS T 11/16/03 DDs K & E 3/28/08
nak DS S 4/1/11
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#3 of 5 Old 02-21-2009, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your very informative reply. I haven't been able to find out that much out online, and have been waiting replies from assumingly very busy doctors.
I have thought about donating for awhile, before the birth of my first son, after the birth of my second, and now being pregnant with my third.
It would be important to look into how much it could potentially limit my milk supply. Thank you for your post!
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#4 of 5 Old 02-22-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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Well the medications themselves won't have a direct effect on your supply. It would be the changes they create in your body that affect your supply. As estradiol levels rise with egg maturation, milk supply may fall. The meds they would use to stim would go by the brand names Menopur, Repronex, Gonal-F, Follistim, Bravelle - they are all either FSH or FSH/LH injections, if you want to look into this more.

I mentioned that if you were to use lupron, I wouldn't know what effect that would have. Lupron essentially puts you into a chemical menopause - it's used to treat endometriosis as well as in IVF cycles so a doc can have total control over stimming your ovaries - with IVF they don't want to risk you ovulating on your own. Lupron *probably* has no effect on milk supply but I am really not sure.

Doing fertility treatments while breastfeeding is somewhat controversial. There are some docs who just won't allow it, not just because some feel pregnancy while breastfeeding is less likely to succeed (may or may not be true) but because some feel egg quality may be compromised if you do treatments while nursing.

The simplest of the fertility meds - clomid and femara, which are oral meds - might be less likely to work while nursing. These meds trick your body into producing the hormones needed for ovulation and if you are nursing your body just might not fall for it.

But when you're talking donation or egg retieval you're most likely going to injections. The theory with these is, since you're putting the hormones in, it doesn't really matter what your body wants to do - you will get the desired result. There are women who have successfully done injections or IVF while breastfeeding. I googled it once.

BUT if someone were to be paying the big bucks for egg donation on top of the already mega big bucks of fertility treatments - I am not sure they'd want to take the gamble of harvesting eggs from someone who is breastfeeding which may or may nor compromise egg quality.

Infertility is complicated. You can be developing what appear to be lots of good eggs on ultrasound, but they might not necc. be good. I did many cycles using Bravelle and appeared to have lots of good eggs, but had no success. Then one cycle on Menopur was my ticket of of secondary infertility hell. It's a delicate hormonal balance. I know it's not popular here to say breastfeeding can interfere with TTC and pregnancy, but it does throw another wrench into the works, and with so much money at stake, I personally don't think it's the best idea. I would make sure to let the person who is to be on the recieving end of the egg know you are nursing so they have a say in whether or not to proceed with you as a donor.

This is in addition, of course, to the stress of the whole ordeal I mentioned - it's a lot to deal with, and that alone could complicate your nursing relationship, as much as any other major stressor in your life could.

eta - all of this is kind of under the assumption that bf'ing will keep your cycles from returning - if they should return while nursing, this may all be moot, as it would indicate your body is somewhat ready again for pregnancy.

DS T 11/16/03 DDs K & E 3/28/08
nak DS S 4/1/11
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#5 of 5 Old 02-25-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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You probably will not be able to do an egg donation as your prolactin levels will be too high. It isn't so much a matter of what it will do to your milk, but how your prolactin levels will effect the maturation of the follicles in the first place. I do know many women who have done IVF treatments for themselves while breast feeding, but egg donors are generally turned down until they are done nursing. If someone else is paying the expenses of the IVF, they usually want the best possible outcome and nursing can hinder the best possible outcome. I would personally wait and see if ED is something you still want to do after you are done nursing.
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