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Donating Eggs Does Not Hurt a Woman's Future Fertility, Study Says
a blog by CHR, May 9, 2012
A Belgian study found that donating eggs does not hurt egg donors’ long-term fertility prospects. This is an interesting study that confirms, one more time, what has been known for a long time. Although many women considering donating eggs do rightly wonder about any effects of egg donation to their future fertility, we have known that does not hurt a woman’s long-term fertility prospects.
Barring unforeseen (and fortunately very rare) complications, based on our understanding of a woman’s egg pool, even repeat egg donations should not affect the donor’s fertility. All eggs removed in an egg donation cycle would have been lost to the donor, anyhow. By donating eggs, the egg donor does not lose additional eggs from her egg reserve, which would not have been used up otherwise. Had she not donated these eggs, they would have undergone degeneration and apoptosis, anyway.
A young woman constantly recruits a large number of eggs from her egg pool with which she was born. These recruited eggs go through a months-long process of maturation, during which the vast majority degenerate and get absorbed back into the body. In natural cycles, only one follicle (egg) amongst hundreds usually makes it to ovulation. All others degenerate before reaching that point.
In an IVF cycle, many of these eggs that otherwise would have degenerated are rescued and retrieved. Their retrieval, however, leaves the remaining egg reserve of the donor unaffected. Since a woman’s fertility potential is represented by her remaining egg pool, therefore, no decline in a woman’s fertility should be expected from egg donation.
Many years ago, CHR investigators reported on a group of CHR’s egg donors who had undergone repeat egg donation cycles, in a study presented at an Annual ASRM Meeting. The study demonstrated that over up to four consecutive donation cycles analyzed, the number of eggs obtained from the donors remained practically the same, confirming that donating eggs, even multiple times, does not hurt the donors’ fertility.