There is a huge discrepancy between the numbers that the reproductive medicine industry reports for the health of egg donors following donation. This is important information sometimes given to donors before they donate, to reassure them that the process is safe.
For example UCSF Medical Center offers this information to potential egg donors: “There is a small risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) developing during an egg donation cycle.”
Another website, Angel Egg Donation says this: “In findings reported to the ASRM, OHSS is associated with approximately 1% of Assisted Reproduction cycles.”
However, our research paints a different picture.
In our first study of 155 egg donors, we found that 30.3% reported Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and 9.6% reported infertility issues.
In our second survey of 176 egg donors in 2014, we found that 32.4% of egg donor reported complications such as OHSS and infection. We asked about infertility problems after donating and 13% said yes, 49% hadn’t yet tried to get pregnant and 38% said they haven’t had any problems.
Well, here is one possible explanation for the discrepancy in tracking complications with egg donors. This is from an email I received from a former egg donor yesterday: “I woke up during one retrieval. What I recall is that the doctor was roughly, rapidly, and aggressively plucking my eggs. I could see the image of my grossly inflated ovary on the screen. I protested in some way–called out in pain or said “hey!”. His reaction was angry–I felt hostility directed at me; it’s possible that the nurse was actually the intended recipient of this anger. Perhaps she hadn’t knocked me out sufficiently. I subsequently had symptoms of OHSS (“warnings” or information about this had been extremely light and dismissive). My calls to the clinic went unanswered. I drove down there instead. They quickly got me out of the waiting room full of hopeful parents, looked at each other, and told me, “well, go to the ER then. I don’t know what you want us to do.” Keep in mind that they knew ahead of this cycle that I would no longer be donating. There was never any follow up from the clinic. Interestingly, the records I recently requested and received (after intervention from my doctor) don’t include anything about that cycle other than a few blood tests, whereas the records for the previous donations include detailed sonogram monitoring of the progress of the eggs, information about the meds (names and dosages), and the date and time of the trigger.”
Another discrepancy: the industry (ASRM and SART) do admit that there is no accurate tracking of sperm donation births, but they continue to insist that they have accurate records of babies born through egg donation. In our research we found that 42% of parents of egg donors children were never asked to report their births. So having accurate records is therefore just not possible.