Egg freezing carries several risks to the woman or couple, including:
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS, see below)
- Surgical complications
- Emotional effects
Rarely, the use of ovulation induction medications can cause swollen or painful ovaries, as well as other symptoms such as nausea, bloating, and some abdominal pain. This collection of symptoms is known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The symptoms can vary a great deal, from mild to severe. The patient may be instructed to stop taking the medication and cancel the cycle if the risk is severe.
The egg retrieval process is a surgical procedure and carries the same basic risks as any other surgery. This includes infection, scarring, mild bleeding, and other anesthesia-related complications. The needle used to collect the eggs can very rarely damage the bowel, bladder or a blood vessel.
Emotional risks may arise from the possibility of false hope. Egg freezing and banking can provide a fertility safety net, but there is never a guarantee of conception. Patients should know that even with healthy, young eggs pregnancy might not happen.