Whose characteristics are inherited in the baby born using donor eggs?

A better understanding of uterine physiology and embryo provides the scope for steady improvement in the field of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and achieves a  significant success rate. The number of donor egg recipients is increasing day by day as the childbearing age of a woman is postponed due to multiple social reasons. But it is an obvious doubt that the genetic material present in the child born through a donor egg completely adheres to an egg donor or influences the intended mother.  

characteristics in the baby born through Egg donors

Will a donor egg have my DNA? Or Donor eggs will the baby look like me? 

The inherited characteristic of any individual depends upon the transmitted parental DNA as genetic material to the child. Therefore, recipients of an egg donor or prospective mother often face the dilemma that their baby may contain her genetic material or not.

But is good news for egg receipts mothers that the child inherits her characteristics also.  A research study conducted by Spanish researchers in 2015 concluded that maternal endometrial micro-RNAs act as transcriptomic modifiers of the pre-implantation embryo.

The term micro-RNAs represents short sections of RNA (ribonucleic acid), which have a chemical relationship with  DNA.  It is well known that DNA takes part in fine-tuning genetic activity during development and throughout life.

Genetic activity’s continuous changes are termed an epigenetic mechanism, which depends upon the environmental factors, including the womb environment. The research finding first identified that the womb lining secretes a nurturing fluid during the window period of embryo implantation to increase the receptivity of the embryo.  This nurturing fluid contains a set of microRNAs. 

More than 2500 microRNAs are present in the human body and each of them has hundreds to thousands of different target genes. They influence growth and immunity development by taking part in the complex networks of gene activity.

The researchers in this study concentrated on a particular type of microRNA, which is known as hsa-miR-30d. They continued their research on mice to explore the functioning of this microRNA. The researchers reported that the womb lining released the hsa-miR-30d type of microRNA that has been taken up into the embryo before implantation.

The research team has also shown through this animal study that several genetic activities were turned up in mouse embryos by taking up the microRNA in comparison with those who hadn’t.

This study finding opens the path for human study to explore this novel epigenetic mechanism through which the mother’s genetic material possibly influences the activity of some of the embryo’s genes.

This study finding indicates that the activity of protein-coding genes present in the human body may get stimulated or inhibited a bit just before implantation, in response to levels of the hsa-miR-30d. However, more detailed study research requires understanding the effect of this microRNA on the subsequent development of the embryo, or the future health of the resulting child.

The further continuation of this study may help to identify the undiscovered biological culprits responsible for the developmental origins of the health and disease of an individual. For example, we know certain adulthood diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease have a link with low birth weight.

At the end of this article, we discover that donor egg recipients cannot pass on DNA to their children. But women who conceive using donor eggs affect their children’s genes as similar to women who conceive naturally. The environment in the womb influences the genetic activity of the child. Therefore,  every pregnant woman including normal conceivers or conceiving through ART should maintain a  healthy lifestyle during pregnancy to support the optimum development of the fetus for future health.

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