Complications related to ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval in 4052 oocyte donor cycles

Reprod Biomed Online. 2008 Aug;17(2):237-43. doi: 10.1016/s1472-6483(10)60200-3.


A retrospective study was conducted in a private infertility centre to evaluate the rate of complications in a large oocyte donation programme. A total of 4052 oocyte retrievals were performed between January 2001 and October 2007. Altogether, 1238 cycles (30.6%) were stimulated with the use of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and in 2814 cycles (69.4%) the GnRH antagonist protocol was used. The GnRH antagonist treated cycles were triggered with human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) or a GnRH agonist in 1295 and 1519 cycles, respectively. Complications related to oocyte retrieval occurred in 17 patients (0.42%) (intra-abdominal bleeding: n = 14, severe pain: n = 2, ovarian torsion: n = 1). Fourteen of these were hospitalized (0.35%) and six donors (0.15%) required surgical intervention. Pelvic infections, injury to pelvic structures or anaesthesiological complications were not observed in this series. Moderate/severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) occurred in 22 donors; 11 required hospital admission and 11 were managed on an outpatient basis. All cases were related to HCG triggering (0.87%). Serious complications related to oocyte retrieval occurred at a low rate in healthy young donors. The risk of OHSS can be substantially reduced by specific stimulation protocols, which include GnRH agonist triggering. Prospective oocyte donors should be adequately counselled about the risks related to egg donation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology
  • Abdominal Pain / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Oocyte Retrieval / adverse effects*
  • Oocyte Retrieval / methods
  • Ovarian Diseases / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Diseases / etiology
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Ovulation Induction / adverse effects*
  • Ovulation Induction / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Torsion, Mechanical
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / adverse effects


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone