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Egg-Donated Pregnancies tied to a Greater Risk of Hypertension

Update Date: Jul 01, 2014 03:11 PM EDT
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Egg donations as a form of fertility treatment have been on the rise recently. Even though this option increases a woman's chances of having a live birth, a new study is reporting that these types of pregnancies increase the risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, by three times.

"A few other studies have shown results suggesting an increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension in egg donation patients," said Dr. Hélène Letur from the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris in Paris reported in the press release. "However, most of them have small samples and do not adequately control for several important confounders, such women's age, multiple pregnancy, and infertility history. Our aim was to find out whether pregnancies from egg donation are genuinely associated with a higher risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia than those from treatments using the patient's own eggs. This has growing importance because of the increasing number of egg donations."

For this study, the researchers examined data provided for by seven in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers located in France. The researchers had matched each singleton egg donation pregnancy to two control routine IVF ones recorded during weeks seven to eight from 2005 to 2011. There were a total of 580 pregnancies with 217 egg donations and 363 controls.

The researchers compared the women's risk of hypertension and found that women who received egg donations had a more than three times greater risk of developing high blood pressure. The prevalence rate for hypertension increased from 5.3 percent to 17.8 percent for these women. Their risk for pre-eclampsia, which is hypertension during the later trimesters of pregnancy, increased from 2.8 percent to 11.2 percent.

"This study confirms several other reports in the literature with a large sample and matched control group. We would have to conclude from the results that egg donation itself is a risk factor for pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia," said Dr. Letur.

The findings were presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) held in Munich, Germany.

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