Donor eggs danger
Women who use donated eggs to get pregnant might be at risk for a common but potentially dangerous pregnancy complication.
Women who get pregnant using IVF are already thought to be at an increased risk for pre-eclampsia. The condition occurs when a woman's blood pressure rises during her second or third trimester and her kidneys stop being able to retain protein.

Now it looks like using a donated egg could possibly increase that risk further.

Though relatively common, pre-eclampsia is not well explained. Pregnant women develop the condition in about one in twenty pregnancies, and the only cure is giving birth.

Studies have shown that women who use donor sperm and those who get pregnant with a new sexual partner have higher rates of pre-eclampsia than other women. That suggested that the condition could be related to the body's immune response to cells it doesn't recognize. So Klatsky and his colleagues wanted to test if that pattern held true for eggs that the body would consider "foreign."

The researchers noted how many women in each group were diagnosed with either pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-related high blood pressure during their third trimesters, as well as how many gave birth to their babies prematurely.

The risks

The results, published in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, show that about 5% of women who used their own eggs for IVF developed pre-eclampsia, compared to almost 17% of women using donor eggs. Women using donor eggs were also more likely to get high blood pressure without kidney problems and to deliver early.

The findings also showed that women who got pregnant using embryos that had been frozen and then thawed were more at risk for pre-eclampsia than women using fresh embryos.

The main message of the study, Klatsky said, is not that women who have gotten pregnant using donor eggs should be scared of developing pre-eclampsia. It's that doctors should be aware of possible risks to their patients, and most importantly that researchers should keep tracking the immune system response in pregnant women.

Did you develop pre-eclampsia while pregnant?

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