Older women using donor eggs at greater risk of preeclampsia and high blood pressure

A growing number of women are using donor eggs to have a child when their egg quality has declined due to advanced age. A recent study conducted in France suggests that older women who have babies using donor eggs, could be at greater risk for hypertension (high blood pressure) and preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication involving high blood pressure and large amounts of protein in the urine, which can potentially be fatal for mother and baby.

The study was conducted at the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris in Paris, and led by Dr. Helene Letur. The researchers studied 580 pregnancies from seven fertility clinics across France: 217 births were from egg donation, and 363 were from women’s own eggs. The results found that approximately 1 in 5 women who used donor eggs developed hypertension, compared with 1 in 20 of the women who used their own eggs. Of the women using donor eggs 11% had preeclampsia, compared to less than 3% in women using their own eggs.

Experts believe that the development of hypertension and preeclampsia in women using donor eggs may be caused by the body’s response to “foreign” cells that it does not recognize, causing the immune system to be triggered.

Dr. Letur said of the findings:

“We would have to conclude from the results that egg donation itself is a risk factor for pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia….Preventive measures and care are necessary, with screening for risk factors for hypertension such as obesity and diabetes and early treatment.”

Read more about high blood pressure and preeclampsia in pregnancy here.

Read more about the study here.

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