Egg Donation Risks

While Egg Donation can be wonderful and life-changing for both sides and also comes with great financial benefit, it’s good to have all the information about Egg Donation Risks in order to make an informed decision moving forward.

There are several risks and side effects that may be associated with providing donor eggs:

Blood Drawing

Mild discomfort and some risk of developing a bruise at the needle site.

Fertility Drugs

Moderate weight gain, mood changes, stomach pressure, headaches, allergic reaction, Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) of the ovaries (5% chance in any cycle). In very rare cases, hyperstimulation could lead to enlarged ovaries and an increased susceptibility to develop blood clots necessitating hospitalization. In very rare cases it may also lead to the development of fluid in the abdomen or lungs, kidney failure, or stroke. In extremely rare cases, an enlarged hyperstimulated ovary will rupture. This may necessitate general anesthesia and major surgery, with all the inherited risks. Loss of one or both ovaries is possible.

The risk of hyperstimulation is minimized if the follicles are aspirated as is planned to occur at the donor egg retrieval. The risk increases if, after taking the fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries, you choose not to undergo the egg retrieval. There also exists an unlikely possibility of a lasting effect on your pelvic organs, including pain, irregular menstrual function, or impairment of future fertility. Finally, an association between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer has been suggested but not proven.


A possible allergic reaction which, in rare cases, may be severe.

Ultrasound-guided egg retrieval

Mild to moderate discomfort after the procedure. Potentially serious complications include bleeding, infection, and injury to the bowel or blood vessels. In extremely rare circumstances, surgery may be necessary to repair damage to internal organs or to control significant internal bleeding (i.e., hemorrhage). Anesthesia will be necessary for the egg retrieval. (The risks associated with anesthesia will be explained during a consultation with an anesthesiologist.) There may be additional risks of donating eggs, which at the present time have not yet been identified. Since it is theoretically possible that not all of the developed eggs will be recovered at the time of retrieval, there is a risk that you may become pregnant if you engage in unprotected intercourse during the egg donation cycle(s).

Ultrasound examinations

No known risks, minimal discomfort.


Twisting of an enlarged ovary resulting in the sudden onset of severe abdominal pain. Onset during exercise or other agitating movement is common.

Psychological Distress

Sometimes associated with assisted reproductive technology procedures.

Potential Long-Term Risks

No definitive studies have demonstrated any link between egg donation and infertility, cancer, or any other significant long-term health problems. Since egg donation is a relatively new procedure, we hope to learn more about the long-term effects of donor eggs in the future when additional research becomes available.