Health Risks for Donating Eggs

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 18, 2012

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Several women in the past few years have actively been donating eggs in order to help couples who cannot have children, or, as has been done in the USA for a long time, to make some money. The act of egg donation has come as a blessing for several childless couples with fertility problems. But the question that has emerged is whether the act of donating eggs via egg harvesting techniques poses a health risk to the donor.

The truth is that that there really is no exact answer to the question. When a woman decides to become an egg donor, she is given the same sort of medical treatment as is given to someone undergoing IVF treatments. Hormone injections along with other drugs that stimulate follicles, the ovary to ripen several eggs simultaneously rather than the one egg normally ovulated each month, and prevent the release of eggs before they can be retrieved. Most studies show no adverse health effects in women on IVF treatments. The same cannot be said with conviction for egg donors.

Several egg donors have been known to develop complications later on in life, although no study has been able to conclusively link the problems (which range from later life infertility to colon cancer) to the egg donation treatments or the donation itself. Scientists working on reproductive medicine have claimed that there is insufficient information about the long-term risks of the drugs used during egg donation to stimulate ovulation.

Other than the harvesting process being physically uncomfortable, some other risks too have been known to be present during harvesting of eggs from the ovaries. Complications could include bruising or haemorrhaging in the ovary caused by the needle that is used to retrieve the eggs. Fertility drugs may also be responsible for a condition called ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS).


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