Risks and Side Effects of Donating Eggs

IHR.com directory of egg donor programs

There are some side effects and risks that may be associated with donating eggs. Prior to beginning an egg donation cycle, the IVF physician you are seeing should discuss all of the possible risks of being an egg donor with you. This is part of the informed consent process, which should occur before your cycle begins.

Most egg donors don't have problems with blood sampling and hormone injections. However, some experience discomfort, redness, or bruising at the injection sites. Side effects may include breast tenderness, fluid retention, feeling full, moodiness, and tenderness around the ovaries. Egg donors may also experience temporary weight gain until their next menstrual cycle, as a result of bloating.

If the egg donor over-stimulates she may run the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHS), which is rare condition typically occurring in less than 5% of egg donors. Severe cases of this syndrome may result in damage to the egg donor's ovaries. In less severe cases, egg donors may experience severe bloating and strong cramping. If you show symptoms consistent with hyperstimulation, your physician may reduce your medication dosage or terminate the egg donation cycle to avoid medical complications.

Regarding the egg retrieval procedure, egg donors are exposed to the same risks as they would be if they were undergoing any other routine invasive procedure. Egg donors will be instructed to rest the day of the retrieval, but most egg donors return to their normal daily activities the day following the retrieval.

Empirical studies have not demonstrated any definitive link between egg donation and infertility, cancer, or any other significant long-term health problems. Since egg donation is a relatively new procedure, however, we hope to learn more about the long-term effects of egg donation in the future when additional research becomes available.