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Women with Turner syndrome using donor eggs carry a higher risk, claims study

9 May 2011
Appeared in BioNews 606

New research suggests that pregnancy via egg donation, in women with Turner syndrome, carries an increased risk for both mother and child.

Turner syndrome is a condition, which affects around one in 2,500 women, where a woman is born with only one X chromosome, instead of the usual two. This can lead to a range of health problems, including short stature and an increased risk of heart disease. Women with this condition are often infertile, but may be able to have children using donor eggs.

The study followed the pregnancies of 93 mothers with Turner syndrome who had undergone egg donation. Thirty-eight percent of the mothers had pregnancy-associated hypertensive, high blood pressure, disorders. These included four women who had severe eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening complication of pregnancy characterised by seizures.

In addition, 30 percent of the babies were found to have restricted growth pre-natally. Unfortunately, during the study two of the women died after giving birth, and another woman had a miscarriage following eclampsia. Overall only 40 percent of the pregnancies were defined as 'normal'.

Professor Patrick Fénichel from the University of Nice, who led the research, said: 'My group and the French oocyte donation research group will now concentrate on understanding if eclampsia is linked only to Turner syndrome or also to egg donation itself'.

'We will also look at ways in which better monitoring during pregnancy, delivery and the immediate post-partum period in an appropriate hospital centre might improve the outcomes of pregnancy in Turner’s mothers'.

The research was presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology, which was held in Rotterdam from 30 April to 4 May 2011.

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