Women who have become pregnant after egg donation should be categorized as high-risk patients. Why that is the case, and which consequences egg donation may have for women is the subject of a review article by Ulrich Pecks and co-authors from the University Hospital Aachen in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl In 2011; 108: 23-31).
The authors support their assessment with data from recent publications and with a case series they encountered in their own hospital. Viewing patient files they found that within the past 4 years, 8 women who had received donated eggs had to be treated for pregnancy-induced hypertension. Three of these pregnancies had to be terminated prematurely because of the threat to the mother’s life. The other 5 cases showed a milder course of pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Egg donation has been in use for more than 25 years to treat unwanted childlessness. Since the German law on the protection of embryos explicitly forbids the procedure, couples often use medical institutions in neighboring European countries. After successful embryo transfer, the pregnant women are subsequently cared for in Germany in accordance with statutory maternity provision. Because of the risk of a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, the authors recommend that the patients are closely monitored by doctors with a specialization in maternofetal medicine.