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Risks and Benefits of Egg Donation Reported
Date:12/26/2008

uestions as what motivates a woman to donate, how aware of the risks women are when they donate, and how did they feel about donating their eggs several years after the procedure?

The researchers found that both altruism and money motivated the women to donate their eggs. More than 30 percent of the women surveyed said altruism alone motivated them to donate their eggs, while just under 20 percent were motivated solely by cash. About 40 percent of the women said both altruism and the promise of money motivated them.

The study found that women who donated eggs received an average of about $4,000 each time they donated. Although there isn't a set number of eggs harvested during each donation, Kenney said a typical donation may number in the teens.

When asked about the physical risks of the donation process, many women felt the risks involved were minor, and 20 percent didn't recall being made aware of any physical risks, such as ovarian hyper-stimulation due to hormone injections, or infection. Kenney pointed out that this doesn't necessarily mean the women weren't told of the risks; it may simply be that they didn't recall the risks.

"Often risk is not as meaningful to the young," Kenney said.

Women who reported physical problems with donation cited bloating, pain and cramping, ovarian hyperstimulation, mood changes and irritability, as well as weight gain or loss, as common complaints. Several women contended they had suffered infertility, decreased fertility or damage to their ovaries, the study authors said.

The survey also found that:

  • Seventy percent of the women donated eggs more than once, with most repeat donors undergoing the procedure two or three times. One woman donated eggs nine times.
  • Forty-five percent of the women were students when they first donated.
  • Most of the donations took place in California (23), Massachusetts (seven), New York (seven), Washing
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