Kawwass Published in JAMA with Donor Egg Research

October 18, 2013

Jennifer KawwassJennifer Kawwass, MD, third-year fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in Emory’s Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, is the first author on a paper published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The results were published early on JAMA’s site on October 17, 2013 to coincide with the presentation of the research at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual meeting in Boston.

The study found that the number of donor egg in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles has increased over a 10-year period of time in the U.S., and outcomes of births from the donor eggs have improved.

Media coverage of this study was extensive. Here is a sample:

Associated Press
ABC News
CBS News
NBC News
Fox News
USA Today
Washington Post
Emory News Center

Emory and CDC researchers, led by Dr. Kawwass, looked at trends using donor oocytes (egg cells) in the U.S. and birth outcomes between 2000 and 2010. The researchers used surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Surveillance System (NASS). Fertility centers are mandated to report their data to the system, which includes information on more than 95 percent of all IVF cycles performed across the nation. 

"We believe the increase in donor egg use and successful birth outcomes from those donor eggs are multi-fold,” says Kawwass. "More women with diminished ovarian reserve are using donor egg for IVF and having successes. And improved technology, along with better access to donor eggs, in part because of egg freezing capabilities, is also increasing numbers. It has also become more socially acceptable to use donor egg when choosing IVF.” 

Kawwass, who is a fellow at the Emory Reproductive Center, observed that the average age remained stable at 28 years for donors and 41 years for recipients. Recipient age was not associated with likelihood of good perinatal outcome. 

"We also found that transferring a single day 5 embryo was associated with an increased likelihood of good perinatal outcome,” says Kawwass. "Negative predictors included tubal and uterine factor infertility (having damaged or abnormal fallopian tubes and/or uterus). Women with these diagnoses may have less chance of achieving a good perinatal outcome. Non-Hispanic black race was also associated with a lower chance of good perinatal outcomes as compared to non-Hispanic white race,” Kawwass explains. 

Further studies are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying the factors associated with unsuccessful outcomes, according to the Emory researchers. 

Co-authors on the paper include: Donna Session, MD, associate professor in Emory’s Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and medical director of the Emory Reproductive Center; Denise Jamieson, MD, clinical professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory and branch chief, Women’s Health & Fertility Branch, Division of Reproductive Health, CDC; and Dmitry Kissin, MD, MPH, adjunct assistant professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory and team lead, Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance and Research, Women’s Health & Fertility Branch, Division of Reproductive Health, CDC.