December 22, 2008

Some egg donors report symptoms

U.S. researchers found 16 percent of women donating eggs to fertility clinics suffered subsequent physical symptoms.

Bloating, pain and cramping, ovarian hyperstimulation, mood changes, irritability, weight gain or loss were the most common reported complaints. Several women claimed infertility, decreased fertility or damage to their ovaries.

The University of Washington study reported 20 percent of the egg donors had lasting psychological effects. The psychological risks associated with egg donation include developing concern or attachment to the eggs or potential offspring, the possibility of having a genetic child in the world and the stress resulting from the donation.

The study, published in Fertility and Sterility, was based on answers given by 80 women who had donated eggs for up to 15 years before answering the questionnaire. The average age was 30.6 years old when surveyed.

The research included women who donated eggs at clinics in 20 states.

We don't know how many egg donors there are because no official records are kept and reporting is on a voluntary basis to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead author Nancy Kenney said in a statement.