Donor Eggs: Understanding Epigenetics

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As reproductive techniques improve and become increasingly available, additional questions arise. Recently on a group that I belong to the issue of donor eggs came up. One of the burning questions many women seem to have about donor eggs is whether they will feel the same connection to the child or children as they would to their own biological offspring.

According to epigenetics, there is a possibility that a developing fetus may have DNA altered somewhat by the woman carrying the baby. This does make sense if you stop to really think about it. The donor egg is implanted in the mother’s uterus and will need so much to help it grow and develop properly.  It will attach to the birth mother via the placenta, where all the nourishment it needs will be pass from her to the developing fetus.

Most importantly, developing research in epigenetics is pointing to the fact that the birth mother is responsible for the ‘expression of the genetic makeup of a fetus’. Everyone is born with active and inactive genes, that is why one person may be fearless while another has a phobia. So, based on research, it is the woman who carries the fetus who passes instructions to the fetus on which genes will be active. True, there is still much to be learnt, but it is exciting to think that our babies from donor eggs will actually have something from us in their genetic makeup.

Ultimately, a child brought up in a loving home will develop many of the qualities of the home environment. While not discounting the DNA (genetic) connection in temperament and behavior, the nurturing environment also plays a major role in personality development.

Even without all the scientific factors, it would seem that there is no difference in the love and bonding between parents and children born from donor eggs. In discussions with some women who have gone the route of donor eggs and or sperm donation, the love and connection they feel with their child is overwhelming. Two women who had biological children prior to having one through the use of donor said they felt no less love for the child conceived via DE.

Granted, this may not be the right thing for everyone, but for many couples this is the only way to have the family they so desire. The decision is not an easy one to make for some people. So, if you are trying to conceive, why not look into the ever growing egg donor alternative to see if it is right for you.

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Avatar of jessdelAbout the author: jessdel (19 Posts)

I'm a mother, wife, writer among other things. I love sharing and learning from others hence my involvement in many online groups.



  1. Avatar of Shell


    January 5, 2011

    I would think that the simple act of carrying the child would make you feel close. That’s why I personally couldn’t be a surrogate- even though it’s not my egg, if I delivered the baby, I would feel like he or she is mine.

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  2. Avatar of jessdel


    January 6, 2011

    I agree, Shell, but people are different. Thankfully, though, there are women who are willing to help others become parents.

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