The use of donor eggs can be a wonderful and invaluable solution for those who cannot conceive. There are many reasons that make these people turn to egg donation.
These reasons include:
- Early menopause,
- advanced age, and
- cancer treatments that compromise the quality of eggs.
Therefore, egg donation has been a priceless addition to assisted reproductive technology. However, much like everything else in the world, there are risks attached to it.
Read on to explore some of the drawbacks from the perspectives of donors and recipients alike.
Babies conceived through egg donors are not biologically related to birth mothers
A child’s genetic composition is defined by the genes from the donor egg, despite the fact that these genes are modified by the mother carrying the baby.
The realization of these genetic differences can understandably cause a real sense of grief. This is because it may be part of a future conversation where the parents may have to explain to the child how they were conceived.
Thus, when a woman is considering the use of donor eggs during conception, she faces one of the most emotional dilemmas that any mother has to deal with.
The realization that she will have no genetic relation to her child. It is therefore common for prospective parents to experience hesitancy over this decision.
However, this is often offset by an understanding that the birth mother will have significant influence over the child’s eventual growth and development.
This influence takes place both during pregnancy and being a mother after the child is born.
The risks of carrying over unknown genetic properties
While there are generally low risks of using donor eggs, there are some dangers associated with genetic and other transmittable factors. These include
- Possible transmission of an STD. The risk is negligible, mainly because the FDA mandate that all egg donors are tested for STDs within 30 days of planned egg donation.
- Pregnancy risks such as preeclampsia, are a condition that causes elevated blood pressure during pregnancy.
- Unknown hereditary factors cannot reasonably be predicted using various tests and diagnoses.
There are rigorous tests that egg donors undergo, which include filling in questionnaires about their health and family histories. Despite this, there is a slight possibility that donated eggs may still carry some genetic defects that develop into disorders over time.
This happens because the women may not have detailed knowledge of their medical histories and that of their families.
In very limited cases, egg donors may use false information for the sake of the monetary benefit associated with egg donation.
Delays in Egg Donation
Although many fertility clinics and medical organizations do their best to ensure it’s uncommon, there are times when egg donors have to delay a cycle or drop it entirely.
This risk can however be navigated by using frozen donor eggs, which have a comparable success rate to fresh donor eggs.
Risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation and irreversible physical changes
If an egg donor experiences over-stimulation of the ovaries, she may run the risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. This is a rare condition that occurs in less than 5% of egg donors. Severe instances may result in some damage to an egg donor’s ovaries.
In less severe cases, egg donors experience some cramping and severe bloating. If one’s symptoms are consistent with hyperstimulation, fertility doctors are expected to reduce the dosages of prescribed medication.
A doctor may call off the egg donation cycle in severe cases to avoid medical complications.
Side effects of fertility medication
Some side effects that egg donors can experience from the medications include nausea, headaches, temporary stinging at injection sites, mood swings, and bloating.
Egg donors are expected to experience bloating before and after the egg retrieval procedure.
The hormone medications prescribed cause the ovaries to swell and produce many eggs. Thus, bloating may also prompt temporary weight gain until egg donors’ next menstrual cycle.
These changes are known to cause minor changes to one’s menstrual cycle.
Generally, these side effects have not been found to affect the ability of egg donors to conceive on their own.
Donation requires significant effort and time
Unlike common assertions, egg donation is not a simple matter. The egg retrieval procedure is a minor surgical operation that lasts between 10 to 15 minutes.
Also, a woman needs to be sedated during the procedure and requires a full day of rest after the procedure. Following the procedure, the egg donor can feel disoriented and experience impaired reflexes.
Some health complications may result from egg retrieval. These include bleeding, developing blood clots, and minor infections. However, these are rare and the egg retrieval process is generally safe for donors.
Egg donation can have negative psychological connotations
Numerous reports indicate that women have some reservations and doubts regarding how their egg donations will be used in the conception, with many of them expressing concerns over how the child will be raised.
Egg donation brokers also project some negative attitudes towards donors’ physical characteristics. They may help couples receive eggs that have a higher likelihood of producing a child that closely resembles prospective parents.
Thus, egg donation brokers may seek out donors based on characteristics such as intelligence, genetics, race, and other physical traits.
It is therefore plausible and understandable for egg donors to feel that their eggs may be offered to neglectful or disinterested in their traits.
Egg donation provides an opportunity for millions of people to experience a positive change in their lives and that of their families.
However, it is not a straightforward procedure and it requires a suitable candidate and a recipient who knows the pros and cons of the process.
Only then can one make a sound decision on whether or not to be involved with egg donation.
To get better acquainted with the experience of others with egg donation cycles, contact members of our community who are ready to help you find out as much information as possible.