What risks does egg donation entail?
Risks for the donor
Hormone stimulation can sometimes have side effects – such as hyperstimulation syndrome. This can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea or shortness of breath, for example. Hyperstimulation syndrome may result in hospitalisation.
In the course of the follicular aspiration, it is also possible that bleeding, postoperative bleeding, swelling, impaired wound healing or infections may occur, or that neighbouring organs are accidentally injured during the procedure. And anaesthesia is never entirely risk-free. All of these complications are rare, but must be thoroughly discussed with the donor women before a donation is made. Selecting stimulation protocols that are as gentle as possible is also a way to try to avoid complications in the donors as far as possible.
Risks for the recipient
If more than one fertilised egg is transferred during the embryo transfer, a multiple pregnancy may occur. This may be dangerous for both the mother-to-be and the children. It is also important to bear in mind that if the recipient is already somewhat older (e.g. over 40), any pregnancy entails a higher risk than in younger years. These risks are addressed in detail and the situation discussed thoroughly with the couple during medical consultations before starting the treatment.
However, it should also be noted that the risk of numerical chromosomal abnormalities, something which correlates with the age of the eggs used, can be significantly reduced by egg donation. A 40-year-old woman has around a 1:100 risk of trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) using her own eggs, whilst with donor eggs from a 25-year-old the risk of trisomy 21 is reduced to the same level as that of a 25-year-old (1:1350).