Do Women treated with donor eggs pass on DNA?
Do women treated with donor eggs pass on DNA to their babies? According to new research the answer is positive.
It has been previously shown by a study conducted at the University of Southampton that the environment in which an embryo grows, that is the womb environment, can affect the embryo’s development. According to experts that event is related to epigenetics. More specifically the embryo’s genes’ activity may be turned up or down in response to specific genetic factors present in the womb fluid of the woman.
But how is this related to infertile women treated with donor eggs? Well it was previously thought that the embryo produced by a fertilized donor egg would share characteristics of the father and the egg donor, not the woman in whom it was implanted. However, according to a recent study conducted at IVI Valencia, a Spanish fertility clinic and Stanford University, genetic material of the pregnant woman was detected into the womb fluid. Laboratory findings confirmed that these fragments of genetic material in the womb are actually absorbed by the embryo.
Researchers studied 20 women, reporting the presence of DNA and its influence on how the embryo develops. This could mean a lot for many women getting pregnant through IVF treated with donor eggs, as they can feel they actually contribute to their baby’s development. It is uplifting to know that their babies could actually get something from them even if it is not their eggs.
These findings may be the first step in elucidating the complex mechanisms underlying the womb environment effects on the development of the embryo. Scientists consider the data provided by this study as an amazing discovery, encouraging infertile women who used egg donation as an IVF treatment by revealing that their baby will eventually have some of their genetic material.
The study, published in the medical journal Development, was led by Dr Vilella and Dr Simon who commented that there are still a lot of things to discover regarding the effects of the mother’s genetic material and how it confers with the baby.