Thursday, 16 July 2015

Being an egg donor in India

In women between the ages of 33 - 35 years, the requirement for egg donors is about 10- 20% and increases as women get older, in women older than 40 years, a large majority of them require egg donors. Also, since Indian women undergo menopause approximately five years earlier than women in  the west, the quality of eggs retrieved at the same age is lower in Indian women as compared to their western counterparts, and hence they require egg donations much earlier. 

On selection of egg donors: “Most donors come from agencies but they are not run by professionals. An egg donor is selected based on her physical characteristics to match the recipient in terms of colour of skin, hair, eyes and height, etc. We also carry out investigations to check if they carry any infections or genetic disorders. All relevant medical tests besides eliciting a detailed medical history are done to evaluate their overall health.

On Risks: “Usually there are no complications with the process of retrieval yet we do follow up with the donors till about a week after the process. Very rarely, during the retrieval process, the needle may hit a blood vessel in the ovary and blood may slowly ooze and the donor may collapse suddenly even 2-3 days after the process. 

There are some clinics which overdo the stimulation of the ovaries so as to retrieve as many eggs as possible and share those eggs between couples. Side-effects of such hyper-stimulation include distended ovaries, filling of fluid in the abdominal cavity which may require  hospitalization and sometimes care in an ICU.”

Increase the minimum age of donors: “The age limit to utilize an egg donor above the age of 21 years are allowed to be donors according to the as per the ICMR guidelines. However this means college girls or young girls who do not fully understand the risks of the procedure, seek egg donation as an option for better earning towards a better lifestyle. 

Many of these college girls cite the reason for offering egg donation to fund their cosmetic surgeries. They do not understand that egg donation, may affect their own fertility due to various reasons in the future. 

Yet I feel that the minimum age of egg donors should be increased from 21 to 25 years because, these young girls would then be mature enough to make a well informed choice, so that they themselves do not have to go for IVF in the process of assisting others to have babies.”

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