Egg Donation Risks
If you’re thinking about using a donor egg to get pregnant, you might wonder about egg donation risks. The good news is that egg donation is extremely safe. However, there are a few issues that should be considered before you proceed.
Medical risks with egg donation
Fortunately, medical egg donation risks are fairly minimal. Before receiving an egg donation, you will undergo extensive medical testing to ensure that you are healthy and capable of sustaining a pregnancy. This evaluation helps to eliminate any potential problems that may arise.
One of the most common risks of the egg donation process is the risk of becoming pregnant with multiples. Due to the young age of most donors (healthy eggs) and the implantation of multiple embryos during embryo transfer, your chance of having multiples is about 40 percent. The chance of having twins with egg donation is at 36.6 percent. 3.7 percent of egg donor pregnancies carried triplets or greater. To reduce egg donation risks with multiples, most IVF programs will only transfer two embryos.
Couples who have longed for a baby may love the idea of two or more babies at the same time but it is important to recognize the risks of a multiple pregnancy. Risks include:
- Miscarriage (pregnancy loss)
- Premature delivery
- Low birth weight
- Problems with organ development, brain development and nerves and other disabilities
- Stillbirth and infant death
There are also possible complications for women who become pregnant with multiples. There is an increased risk for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, bleeding problems, exaggerated pregnancy symptoms and higher cesarean rates.
Some fear that HIV can be spread through donor eggs. No cases of this happening have ever been reported nor is it even known if eggs can transmit the virus. To reduce potential problems, egg donors undergo extensive screening to ensure that they do not carry, and thereby will not spread, any infectious diseases before they become donors.
A common egg donation risk involves your emotional experience. There are some serious psychological implications involved in receiving an egg donation that should be explored before making a decision.
When going through IVF and using donor eggs, you may experience a feeling of isolation and being alone. You may choose not to tell many people in order to protect the child. Unfortunately, because egg donation is a fairly rare process, there are very limited support groups for women who have received a donor egg. Professional counseling throughout the egg donation process can be very beneficial to help you and your partner deal with this decision.
Achieving your dream of pregnancy
Dealing with an infertility diagnosis brings about many emotions such as sadness, grief and anger. These emotions may be heightened when you find out the chance of pregnancy is limited to using donor eggs. It is important to reflect on your emotions as well as your partner’s feelings. Because fertility often plays an integral role in a woman’s definition of herself and her purpose in life, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and communicate them to your partner.
When the chances of conceiving a baby on your own become slim, egg donation can provide you with a wonderful alternative to help you achieve your dream of having a baby. While all of the potential emotional and medical egg donation risks should be evaluated, this form of reproduction enables you to experience the joy of pregnancy and childbirth as well as have your own child.Sources
- RESOLVE: The Decision to Use Donor Eggs: Differences Between Men and Women.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Third Party Reproduction (Sperm, Egg, and embryo donation and surrogacy): A Guide for Patients.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report: National Summary. 2007.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Patient Fact Sheet: Complications and Problems associated with Multiple Births.
- IntegraMed: Egg Donation 101.