As you are no doubt aware, all types of medical treatments and procedures have some risks associated with them. However, the risks associated with egg donation are very low, and at the highly respected clinics with which we work, everything possible is done to minimise these risks at every stage.
At your first clinic appointment the doctor will discuss the risks with you and the likelihood of you being affected. If it is felt that you are seriously at risk in anyway then it is unlikely you will be allowed to continue donating eggs.
You might have heard about the risks for women going through IVF, but these affect only about 1% of all women undergoing treatment. Any complications that might arise during egg collection are usually from the stimulation drugs or the procedure itself, and, although uncommon, these could include:
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
Some women respond very sensitively to fertility drugs and produce many follicles. This causes the ovaries to enlarge and hormone levels to rise. It is more common in younger women and those with ‘polycystic ovarian syndrome’ (PCOS).
Development of OHSS is not always predictable or avoidable. It is possible to identify if you have an increased risk, by monitoring you with extra ultrasound scans and blood tests. A change can then be made to your drug dose to avoid this happening. Symptoms of OHSS are most likely to occur in the first few days after egg collection.
Pelvic infection can, very occasionally, occur following an egg collection. To lower the chances of this happening, the collection is always performed under very clean conditions and antibiotics are given to those women who are at higher risk of infection. Since it is not possible to sterilise the vagina – where some bacteria are always present – a swab is taken at the outset, and if there is any sign of infection, antibiotics may be given as a precaution to minimise any risk.
There is a very small risk that the needle used for egg collection can puncture the bladder, bowel or blood vessels. However, if this were to happen, the needle used is so fine that it is unusual to cause any complications. Any instances of vaginal bleeding can usually be stopped at the end of egg collection by applying pressure. If there is a concern that a tiny hole has been made, antibiotics will be given at the end of the procedure.