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Health risks for egg donors and retrievers

Health risks for egg donors and retrievers


Despite the common use of “donated” eggs in ART procedures, little to no peer-reviewed medical research on the effects of egg procurement on women’s health exists. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for fertility clinics to provide adequate information for informed consent relative to the health risks involved. It also raises the ethical concern of who should be entrusted to provide the information to the women giving their consent, as conflicts of interest are present if those who want the eggs are informing those who supply the eggs.

Currently, the clinics have no requirement to follow-up with the women who provide their eggs—once the extraction is over, the women are forgotten history. As awareness grows of egg “donation” and ARTs, more women are speaking up about harrowing personal experiences with it and both the short and long-term health conditions they are now suffering. These conditions include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), loss of fertility, ovarian torsion, blood clots, kidney disease, premature menopause, ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic pain, stroke, reproductive cancers, and in some cases, death.

OHSS is caused by the process of superovulation and is well-documented in the medical literature as a risk associated with women who take fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation. A recent study has also indicated increased maternal morbidity in women using an egg from someone else, with considerable risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension. In some cases patients have sudden abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and will results in hospitalization. During egg retrieval, there is a chance of bleeding, infection and damage to surrounding structures like bowel and bladder, difficulty in breathing, chest infection, allergic reactions to meds and nerve damage.

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