Risks and Considerations of Egg Donation
Becoming an egg donor for an infertile couple is a rewarding experience. Also, this is a costly and time consuming process, which takes patience and responsibility. Also, there are possible physical and psychological risks that need to be considered.
For someone to donate an egg, it takes dedication and a high level of commitment from the beginning steps of applying to be a donor, up until the final procedure of eggs retrieval. As with any type of medical procedure involving the use of medications, there are some possible risks and side effects that should always be considered.
In order to be accepted to become a donor there is specific criteria that must be met, along with several steps that are part of the screening process. This is to verify that the possible donor does meet the criteria, and that they are healthy enough to undergo the process. These steps are important and necessary to ensure the health and safety of the donor, the eggs, and the recipient. Many women don’t have a problem with meeting the basic criteria, such as being within the specified age range, having good health, avoiding smoking or the use drugs, and being of normal weight. However, there are many other aspects that need to be considered, such as:
- The ability to pass a physical exam – This includes submitting a blood test and taking cervical cultures. The purpose of the initial medical examination is to screen for any inheritable diseases or disorders, hepatitis B or C, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV (AIDS). This determines if a donor meets the criteria to be healthy enough to successfully develop and carry the eggs without any problems.
- Pass a psychological examination – Which includes a test that is usually administered on computer, as well as an evaluation with a psychologist. This is to inform and discuss with the patient the psychological aspects and stress involved with the entire process, and to determine if the possible donor has the mental capacity and health to take on this commitment.
- Have a flexible schedule – This will allow the donor to attend weekly appointments for monitoring. For these appointments blood is withdrawn to check the health of the donor and their reaction to medications, as well as an ultrasound to monitor the eggs growth and development.
- Be able to self-inject medication on a daily basis – Throughout the donation process donors will be required to take a series of medications to stimulate growth and ensure the health of the eggs, and to prepare the eggs for retrieval.
The majority of egg donors generally do not experience any problems throughout the screening process, or the medical steps involved with the process of donating the eggs. However, there is always the possibility of medical complications, side-effects, or psychological risks. Because of these risks the screening process is thorough, and the donor is constantly monitored.
- Side effects – The donor could experience some side effects from medications that could cause moodiness, fluid retention, tenderness in specific areas, allergic reactions, or blood clots.
- Complications – In some rare cases there have been complications that have led to organ failure, hyperstimulation of the ovaries, damage to the ovaries, or damage to internal organs during the egg retrieval.
- Psychological distress – Along with medical risks there is also the possibility of psychological distress. This is generally caused by the responsibility and stress of the many donation procedures. Some donors have also suffered lasting psychological effects due to the concern of how their offspring was being raised.
While there are other risks associated with donating eggs, doctors thoroughly discuss all possible risks throughout the process, as well as their options if a complication does arise.