#MicroblogMonday: DE Genetics


The egg bank and our clinic armed us with a whole lot of information this past week. The obvious stuff like how to register and the financing arrangements, but also they provided a pamphlet on ‘how to choose a donor’.

This was surprisingly helpful. I very naively believed that it would be pretty straight forward for me. Just find someone that has similar physical features (height, weight etc.), good genetics and boom we’re off. But as I go through the database I am finding that physical characteristics are actually lower on my list, and education and personality feature much higher on my wish list along with genetic predispositions. Of course, DH has a totally different view and places physical characteristics high on his priority list. It definitely is not an easy process.

The pamphlet did help clear up a few misconceptions for me. For example, along with the donors physical characteristics it is important to look at the family as a whole for their characteristics e.g. are all the siblings short or tall? Blonde or brunette etc. It also noted that level of education is not necessarily an indication of the intelligence of a donor, life situations may not allow some to pursue higher education and I shouldn’t discount a potential donor for not getting a bachelors degree. I also liked the emphasis that this should be a positive process, so that when we do tell any future child about their conception, they will feel like they were carefully chosen by us.

The one thing that stood out to me was the reference to this article. Essentially, a recent study demonstrated that even with use of a DE, a future mother will secrete molecules in her uterus that can modify the genetic information of the future child!

This is mind blowing to me. It basically changes what I fundamentally believed about egg donation and genetics. How did I not know about this before? Why don’t people tell you these things when discussing egg donation? I feel like this is important information especially when a person with DOR is being told they will never be able to use their own eggs to get pregnant. Despite the fact that I may say that genetics doesn’t matter, it does. It reinforces my decision to try DE IVF over adoption. And having this little bit of hope changes things.

Obviously I don’t expect to see a little mini-me pop out of my uterus any time soon. But if things work out, it will be nice to be able to hear people say ‘oh she (in my mind it is always a girl) has your …’ and not think: nope, shes from a DE, so whatever it is, she didn’t get it from me.

Regardless, this new information has me a little more excited about the whole selecting an egg donor process and I guess having a bit of hope is a good thing at this time.

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8 thoughts on “#MicroblogMonday: DE Genetics

  1. I had the same experience when picking a donor. When we first started I said all I cared about was dark hair and healthy. I don’t care about eye color because I would prefer them to get my husband’s eye color, and I didn’t think I would care too much about education. Then my husband voiced that he wanted to make sure the donor was my height or shorter, he then said he wanted someone with a more olive complexion like mine, because he likes that about me. Then when we started getting profiles in I found myself more gravitated to the more educated ones.

    As someone who was raised in a home where genetics never meant much, who has only step and half siblings and has never seen my parents “together”, I know in my heart that at the end of the day that after everything we have been through, after all of the money, treatments, heart ache, and more, that I won’t care if my baby has my nose, or my eyes. I will only care that they are finally here, and that all of it was for a reason.

    Sending you prayers and positive vibes as you select a donor and that you will continue to feel peace and confidence in your decisions to go down this path. (HUGS)

  2. People in this community mentioned this to me a lot when I was picking a donor. It’s called epigenetics. It’s a very very new field so not a lot is know about it. Sometimes it does make people who use a donor feel a more strong biological connection. It was not super meaningful to me because I had come to terms with not being the genetic mom and was thrilled with the option to experience pregnant, regardless of whether or not epigenetics is real/strong/actually works the way is DE people hope. It’s worth some research if it resonates with you!!

    1. I thought I had come to terms with not being a genetic mother. But somehow having that tiny little bit of hope and excitement about what a future child might inherit from me makes me feel so much better. I am definitely digging deeper into epigenetics. This is all very fascinating to me.

      1. You can be both. I mean, content with it and also interested. It’s an interesting field. I am content with it and still know I will feel jealously when my sisters have kids and my parents have genetic grandkids who might look like them

  3. Epigentics is really awesome and I remember that being something I hung on to when we went down the donor egg path. There was a whole study with horses and ponies or something, and one was pregnant from the other’s egg, and it did have some characteristics (like being bigger or smaller) of the carrier. Fascinating stuff. We weren’t given much choice as our donor was chosen for us based on a questionnaire we filled out, there wasn’t a database. I found the questionnaire overwhelming (like an American Girl doll form), so a database may have dizzied me up! I’m glad they give you a lot of information and caveats, about level of education especially. It really makes you think about nature vs nurture, about what’s passed on genetically versus what is fostered in the environment. I hope you find the match that’s right for you!

    1. Absolutely. I agree with you on the nature v nurture thing. I am absolutely convinced that being smart is a combination of both but DH says that it has nothing to do with genetics. We have had some interesting conversations about it for sure.

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