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Long-term breast cancer risk following ovarian stimulation in young egg donors: a call for follow-up, research and informed consent

Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Volume 34, Issue 5, May 2017, Pages 480 - 485

Abstract

In the USA and other countries, oocyte donation is gaining increasing importance. Although sufficient data exist on procedure-associated short-term risks for oocyte donors, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, long-term follow-up studies of egg donors are lacking and their health risks are unknown. The lack of information may be misleadingly interpreted as lack of risk. Long-term hormone replacement therapy is recognized as a risk factor for breast cancer; the breast cancer risk of ovarian stimulation for egg donors is unknown but is a possibility. This commentary describes five individual cases of egg donors who developed breast cancer (four out of five women in their 30s) despite negative genetic testing results. Additionally, we summarize available studies of breast cancer in infertile women who experienced IVF. We emphasize the need to create egg donor registries that will facilitate long-term studies on egg donors. Until this information is available, we call for more realistic explanations to egg donors about the lack of knowledge of long-term risks as well as more transparent informed consent documents.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Egg donors, Informed consent, Long-term risks, Ovarian stimulation.

Footnotes

a Professional Boundaries, Inc, 3052 N Palomino Park Loop, Tucson, AZ 85712, USA

b Center for Bioethics and Culture, 3380 Vincent Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, USA

c Donor Sibling Registry, P.O. Box 1571, Nederland, CO 80466, USA

* Corresponding author.