What are the risks of pregnancy by ovodonation?

By (gynecologist), (gynecologist), (embryologist) and (psychologist).
Last Update: 03/02/2022

IVF with donor eggs, also known as egg donation, is a reproductive option that offers high pregnancy rates by using eggs from young, healthy women. This is why it is considered a fertility treatment with few risks for the recipient since she will not undergo ovarian puncture.

Only women undergoing ovodonation will have to take estrogen and progesterone to prepare the endometrium for embryo transfer.

Nevertheless, it is true that IVF with ovodonation involves a great deal of grief for the patients as they are unable to contribute their genetic load. This can lead to various psychological problems in women.

Risks in endometrial preparation

Ovodonation is a fertility treatment indicated for women who, for various reasons, cannot use their own eggs to produce a healthy, evolving embryo. This reproductive technique would be indicated in patients with advanced age, occult ovarian failure, genetic anomalies, repeated miscarriages, menopause, etc.

Therefore, the first step for the recipient in an oocyte donation is the preparation of her endometrium. It is essential that the endometrium be thick and trilaminar in an appearance on the day of transfer. This will help the embryo to implant and the pregnancy to take place. If on the day of the embryo transfer, the endometrium is too thin, the embryo will not be able to attach to it.

The preparation of the endometrium can be done naturally, although most commonly hormonal medication is administered. The recipient will take estrogen and progesterone until the endometrium is seen ultrasonographically with the desired thickness and appearance.

When hormones are administered exogenously, the patient may experience some discomfort such as headache, nausea, breast tenderness, fatigue, etc. However, these symptoms are usually mild and disappear after a short time in women.

If you want to learn more about endometrial preparation, you can visit the following article: Preparation of the endometrium for embryo transfer.

What are the risks of the transfer?

Embryo transfer is a step of IVF and consists of depositing the embryos in the uterus by means of a fine cannula. This procedure is performed in an ultrasound-guided manner and is not very complex. This is why the risks associated with embryo transfer are low.

Nevertheless, as in any other procedure, it is possible to associate some risk factors with the transfer. For example, there is a possibility that the embryo may become attached to the transfer cannula. This is easy to detect since the cannula is always checked after insertion into the uterus. In this way, if the embryo had remained adhered to the cannula, it would be observed in the laboratory.

Another incidence associated with embryo transfer is that the woman may have a small amount of bleeding after the procedure or difficulty for the entrance of the cannula due to a narrow cervix.

Rarely, the woman feels pain during embryo transfer. Infections are also rare after this procedure.

If you want to continue reading more in-depth information, you can visit this link: Embryo transfer: when and how it is done.

Risks of IVF pregnancy with donor eggs

Some people believe that there are greater risks in egg donation pregnancies than when using their own eggs; while others think the opposite since eggs from young girls are used.

The truth is that the risks in pregnancy will depend on the situation of each woman and her characteristics. Most of the patients who resort to ovodonation are of advanced age. This is why the dangers of pregnancy increase, regardless of the origin of the eggs. As a woman's age increases, there are greater risks in pregnancy. Some of them are discussed below:

In addition, if a multiple pregnancy were to occur in older women, the risk of suffering these complications would also increase. Therefore, it is always recommended to transfer a single embryo.

However, thanks to ovodonation in older women, the probability of miscarriage is reduced.

Genetic mourning of ovodonation

One of the things that most people think about when the recommended reproductive option is ovodonation is the physical resemblance of the baby and its genetics. Many patients do not find it easy not to be the parents genetically speaking when opting for donors. This is why doubts may arise regarding the genetic relationship of your future baby.

Assisted procreation, as any other medical treatment, requires that you rely on the professionalism of the doctors and staff of the clinic you choose. Obviously, each clinic is different. Get now your Fertility Report, which will select several clinics for you out of the pool of clinics that meet our strict quality criteria. Moreover, it will offer you a comparison between the fees and conditions each clinic offers in order for you to make a well informed choice.

These doubts that may arise in IVF with ovodonation are known as genetic mourning. More and more fertility clinics are offering psychological support for oocyte donation, or any other fertility treatment.

FAQs from users

Is it normal to have a missed abortion in ovodonation?

By Marta Zermiani M.D., Ph.D. (gynecologist).

Yes, it is possible to have a missed abortion in an IVF treatment with donor eggs.

We define miscarriage as uninduced embryonic or fetal loss before the 20th week of gestation. A missed or delayed abortion is characterized by the arrest of gestation without spontaneous expulsion of the embryo or fetus and usually occurs between the second and third trimester of pregnancy.

As with other types of miscarriages, one of the main causes is a genetic or chromosomal alteration in the development of the fetus. Likewise, infections, endocrine or hormonal disorders or problems in the uterus or cervix can also cause a miscarriage in the first weeks of gestation.

Imagen: causes-of-missed-abortion

The risk of miscarriage is around 25% after the age of 35, while it increases to 50% in women over the age of 40. If we apply these percentages to egg donation, we know that the risk of miscarriage in egg donation is around 25% because the oocytes come from women under 35 years of age. So it may be normal in an oocyte donation treatment to have a missed abortion.

Will the baby look like the mother in an ovodonation?

By Carolina González Arboleya M. D. (gynecologist).

Dr. Carolina Arboleya gives us the answer to this question. The doctor tells us:

When we do the matching between the donor and the patient, we have many things in mind. Apart from studying the donor in many aspects so that she can make the donation, in terms of genetic diseases, serological tests, etc. that the battery of tests is very wide, regardless of that, once we have carried out those tests, we do that pairing taking into account the physical characteristics. We take into account the blood group and we take into account general physical characteristics, skin color, eyes, hair, height, hair shape, etc.

Does using donor eggs carry fewer pregnancy risks?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

No. When egg donation is used, the possibility of having genetically alternated embryos and, therefore, the risk of miscarriage is reduced.

However, the risks associated with pregnancy are the same as if one's own eggs are used. It is important to keep in mind that advanced maternal age and multiple gestations can cause some risks during gestation, such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc.

If you want to know the success rates of this fertility treatment, don't forget to click here: Ovodonation success rates: What are the chances of pregnancy?

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Bertrand-Servais M, Letur-Könirsch H, Raoul-Duval A, Frydman R. Psychological considerations of anonymous oocyte donation. Hum Reprod. 1993 Jun;8(6):874-9 (see)

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Golombok S, Ilioi E, Blake L, Roman G, Jadva V. A longitudinal study of families formed through reproductive donation: Parent-adolescent relationships and adolescent adjustment at age 14. Dev Psychol. 2017 Oct;53(10):1966-1977. doi: 10.1037/dev0000372 (see)

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Watters M1, Noble M2, Child T3, Nelson S4 Short versus extended progesterone supplementation for luteal phase support in fresh IVF cycles: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2019 Oct 24. pii: S1472-6483(19)30785-0. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2019.10.009 (see)

FAQs from users: 'Is it normal to have a missed abortion in ovodonation?', 'Will the baby look like the mother in an ovodonation?' and 'Does using donor eggs carry fewer pregnancy risks?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Carolina González Arboleya
Carolina González Arboleya
M. D.
Dr. Carolina González has a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Santiago de Compostela. Currently, Dr. González is doing a Master in Assisted Reproduction by the Technological University TECH and another one in Aesthetic, regenerative and anti-aging medicine by the Complutense University of Madrid. More information about Carolina González Arboleya
Member number: 282875780
 Marta Zermiani
Marta Zermiani
M.D., Ph.D.
Graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy, specializing in Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge in Barcelona. Specialist in Assisted Reproduction with 4 years experience and currently a gynecologist at Vida Fertility Madrid. More information about Marta Zermiani
Licence number: 280847526
 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Cristina  Algarra Goosman
Cristina Algarra Goosman
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Psychology by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Clinical Psychology by the European University Center and specific training in Infertility: Legal, Medical and Psychosocial Aspects by University of Valencia (UV) and ADEIT.
More information about Cristina Algarra Goosman
Member number: CV16874

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