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Diagram from Robert M.L. Winston & Kate Hardy, "Are we ignoring potential dangers of in vitro fertilization and related treatments?" Nature Cell Biology 4 (S1), S14–S18 (2002) and Nature Medicine 8 (S1), S14–S18 (2002)

Women who choose to donate eggs to help infertile couples should know the procedure comes with both psychological and physical risks, the first study to examine the long-term effects of donation shows.

Women also need to know that little data is available to assess whether donating eggs when young has any effect on fertility later in life, experts said.

A new study in the December issue of Fertility and Sterility found that almost one in five women reported lasting psychological effects as a result of egg donation -- some positive and some negative. Some women felt a sense of pride in helping an infertile couple, while others developed concerns about the people who were raising their genetic offspring.

Still, two-thirds of women who donated eggs reported satisfaction with the process, the study found.

"Women need to look at the risk involved very carefully, and pay attention to what they're being told about risks, not just to what they're being offered to do it," said study author Nancy Kenney, an associate professor of psychology and women's studies at the University of... see more