“I am afraid my baby will not look like me”.
If you have been considering egg donation, this may be a big concern. However, new studies may help you overcome this fear. There are two main ways in which the recipient mother can affect her child’s gene expression. The first one requires some scientific background and the results may surprise you. The second one might seem more obvious, but it still plays an important role in the success of egg donation.
What is epigenetics? The study of changes in gene expression that are not due to the DNA sequence.
And how do these changes occur? MicroRNAs are molecules in the recipient’s womb which can increase or decrease the activity of the child’s genes. One possible way to turn down the level of activity is by silencing genes.
When does this happen? A new study suggests that this process may start even before implantation. The conclusion is that the influence played by mothers may start very early in the pregnancy journey.
What can mothers affect exactly? For example, the child’s immune system, metabolism, and cognitive development. Your partner will be responsible for half of your child’s heredity, and you can also play your part in giving the baby certain genetic inheritance.
The association between a healthy lifestyle and a successful pregnancy is now well known. Studies confirm that maintaining a balanced nutrition and avoiding smoking and alcohol help both partners to create the optimal environment for their baby.
This also has to do with genes. Imagine your child is predisposed to being tall due to DNA inheritance. But what if the womb’s environment is not developing properly? If the genes responsible for height lack the sufficient nutrition, the DNA predisposition may not come to realization.
Taking care of your lifestyle during conception is essential for your pregnancy journey. Starting to adopt healthy habits in the preconception period is even more helpful. Read our blog articles to learn more about fertility foods here: https://www.unica.cz/en/blog/fertility-foods-eating-right-helps-conception and 4 supplements to increase your fertility: https://www.unica.cz/en/blog/the-pregnancy-boost-4-supplements-to-increase-your-fertility
At Unica, we know the egg donation journey can be mentally challenging.
The genetic processes determining who the child will look like are unpredictable even in natural pregnancies. But we hope that this article helped you realize that there are factors you can control as the mother of your baby.
The Unica team