Have you ever thought of becoming an egg donor to help someone else have a baby, and perhaps to make some money? Donating eggs is a complicated process that is much more invasive than donating sperm, and many women who would otherwise be happy to donate eggs give up on the idea because of medical risks. But, according to a new study, egg donors don't need to worry that the egg donation procedure will impact their chances of becoming pregnant in the future.
The small study conducted by doctors in Belgium was aimed at finding out if hyperstimulating the ovaries to produce many eggs at once could have negative consequences. But the study team concluded there is no such risk. Dr Dominic Stoop, who led the study, said: "Egg donation has been offered to patients in Belgium since the 1980s. We were not surprised by the good reproductive outcomes in ex-egg donors."
To get their answers, the study team questioned 194 women who had donated eggs between 1999 and 2010, mostly around five years after they donated eggs. Approximately 60 percent of the donors, who averaged 30 years of age, reported trying to get pregnant since donating eggs. Of those, 57 percent got pregnant with no problems. Some had fertility treatments, some of which was due to their partner's infertility.
Interestingly, 16 percent of the women who were interviewed had changes in their menstrual cycle after egg donation but none of the women in that group also became infertile. Dr Stoop said: "Menstrual pattern could be disrupted temporarily by hormonal changes due to ovarian stimulation, much like how menstrual changes also appear after stopping an oral contraceptive."
Egg donors undergo medical checkups before donating, and they are specifically chosen for their healthy ovaries and eggs. So, this study may not say anything about women who have their own eggs harvested for fertility treatment. And, more research is still needed into the long-term health effects of egg donation.