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University of Colorado Denver



FACT SHEET: RISKS OF OOCYTE DONATION

The medications and procedures required for oocyte donation are rarely associated with complications. However, as with all medical treatments there are potential problems which may occur.

  1. Medication Risks
    1. Although mild bruising and soreness are possible with any injectable medications such as those used for IVF, allergic reactions are very rare.
    2. Controversial studies link ovarian stimulation drugs to the development of ovarian cancer. Although studies are contradictory, some researchers have reported an increase in borderline ovarian cancer in women who use injectable gonadotropins. Until further research is available, careful use of ovarian stimulation drugs is reasonable, but it is also important to note that the use of birth control pills or pregnancy significantly reduces the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer.

  2. Ovarian Hyperstimulation (OHSS): Occurring in 1 to 5 percent of cycles, the chance of OHSS is increased in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. When severe it can result in blood clots, kidney damage, ovarian twisting (torsion), and chest and abdominal fluid collections. In severe cases, hospitalization is required for monitoring but the condition is transient, lasting only a week or so. Occasionally, drawing fluid out of the chest or abdominal cavity helps.

  3. Egg Retrieval: Ultrasound-guided, transvaginal egg retrieval is a procedure whereby a long, thin needle is passed through the vagina into the ovary. Although women are under sedation or local anesthesia, this procedure can cause mild to moderate discomfort. Injuries during this procedure are extremely rare. Structures near the ovaries, such as the bladder, bowel, or blood vessels could possibly be injured and require further surgery. Limited bleeding from the ovary may occur, but the need for transfusion is extremely rare. Infections following transvaginal egg retrieval are also possible, but rare.

  4. Pregnancy: While taking the fertility medications it is very important that you avoid intercourse until the 3 weeks after your oocyte retrieval to prevent pregnancy from inadvertently occurring.

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University of Colorado Denver
Advanced Reproductive Medicine

Anschutz Medical Campus Office
Location: 1635 Aurora Court, Aurora, CO 80045
Mailing: PO Box 6510, Mail Stop F701, Aurora, CO 80045
Tel: 720.848.1690
Toll-free: 1.888.899.7441
Fax: 720.848.1678
Colorado Springs Office
4125 Briargate Parkway, Suite 350
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Tel: 719.314.3333
Fax: 719.314.3344

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