Safety and Health of Egg Donations


Egg donation has become a booming business today, as young, healthy women find it to be an easy way to make money by donating their eggs to fertility clinics, which use them to help childless couples bear children. However, as women opt for this process, there are some safety and health concerns for them, related to the impact the process is going to have on their long term health and fertility. Therefore, it is recommended that donors should be fully aware of such risks and implications before getting on with the process.

Some of the safety and health implications of egg donations are discussed as follows:

Fertility Treatment

When a woman prepares herself for egg donation, she has to undergo fertility treatment to maximize her chances of producing healthy and fertile eggs. This can lead to some common symptoms like headaches, weight gain, mood swings, bloating and allergic reactions to the drugs. In some rare cases, she may suffer some from more serious conditions such as Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which could enlarge the ovaries and cause formation of blood clots. Some very serious implications can include impaired fertility in future, irregular menstrual cycle and negative impact on pelvic organs, but these occur in very, very rare cases.

Ultrasound Guided Egg Retrieval

The egg is retrieved from the donor with ultrasound guided method, which involves a certain degree of discomfort, in addition to more serious risks such as infection, bleeding and injury to blood vessels or bowels. In some rare events, there may be damage to internal organs, which needs to be corrected with surgical procedure. Also, there may be potential risks related to anesthesia which has to be administered during the procedure.

Antibiotic Reactions

Since the donor is given antibiotics, there is always a possibility of an allergic reaction. The reaction is mild in most cases but sometimes, can turn out to be severe.

Psychological Distress

Assisted reproductive procedures involve risk of psychological distress to the patient and it is the same case with the donor of eggs. Moreover the entire process of stimulation of ovaries followed by retrieval of the eggs can cause a great deal of inconvenience to the donor.

Long Term Health Risks

Not a great deal of research has been done to find out the long term impact on the health of egg donors, as they are subjected to the same protocol of stimulation of ovaries with fertility drugs as well as egg retrieval, as regular infertility patients. However, studies have pointed to the fact that the women who went through fertility treatment had higher risk of developing certain types of cancers, the main being ovarian cancer. The fact, however, is yet to be established, as there has not been a definitive link established between egg donation and uterine cancer. Things may become clearer as more research is carried out in future on this subject.

Overall, the potential health risks to an egg donor, which are really a cause of concern are those of infertility and cancer. But the fact remains that these are yet to be established in the coming time.