US oocyte donors: a retrospective study of medical and psychosocial issues

Hum Reprod. 2009 Dec;24(12):3144-9. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dep309. Epub 2009 Sep 3.


Background: First-person reports of oocyte donors, years after their donation, can give valuable information about medical complications of oocyte donation, as well as changes potentially required in procedures and priorities of US-based in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers. This paper reports findings from an online survey of former oocyte donors.

Methods: The instrument was an author-constructed questionnaire completed online on the Donor Sibling Registry website. Questions assessed women's accounts of medical complications, contact with the infertility clinic through which they had provided ova, and information exchange or contact with people conceived from their ova.

Results: Responses were received from 49.1% of the 287 donors with valid e-mail addresses. The 155 respondents completed the survey an average of 9.4 years after their first donation. Reported medical complications included ovarian hypersensitivity syndrome (30.3%) and infertility (9.6%). Subsequent to ova donation, 2.6% of women reported that they had been contacted by the IVF clinic for medical updates. On the questionnaire, 34.2% of women reported that medical changes they thought would interest donor children; half said that they had attempted to report these changes to the clinic with variable results. Many, who did not report such information, did not realize they could or should. Donors said that they frequently had not sought information about pregnancy outcomes because of confusion about the definition of 'anonymity' or 'confidentiality'.

Conclusions: US-based IVF clinics need to give clearer guidelines to anonymous oocyte donors about follow-up information exchange. Additional long-term studies are needed to ascertain oocyte donors' risks of infertility or cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Internet
  • Oocyte Donation / adverse effects*
  • Oocyte Donation / psychology*
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult