Epigenetics is a new (well to some of us!) buzzword in the field of egg donation for conception. Essentially Epigenetics refers to factors outside the gene, such as a cell's exposure to hormones or genetic variations that can modify a gene. Such factors can change what is ultimately expressed; they can change a phenotype i.e.: they can alter what an organism looks like as a consequence of the interaction of its gene AND the environment.
In terms of conception via egg donation that environment begins with the womb of the birth mother. Some examples include hormone and reproductive factors in a woman that may influence the chances of breast and ovarian cancer. These factors are believed to be linked to a woman's exposure to estrogen and progesterone and their effects on cell differentiation in the breast that occur during pregnancy.
Conventional science has historically linked cell behaviour to the genes present. Latest research suggests however that cells send out signals unique to an individual that I turn receives signals from the outside. This is specifically interesting for birth mothers where it appears our identities may be formed in the womb, linked to an exterior field of energy.
World Epigenetics studies are now focusing on how donor conceived babies DNA may actually be expressed based on the woman who carries that baby. The study of Epigenetics reveals that our lives are more than the sum of our inherited genes. During growth in the womb and after birth differences begin to reveal themselves due to specific genes being active in some people and non-active I others. There are a number of reasons for certain genes to be active and others not including the way the hosts body functions, lifestyle and how we think and feel – our emotions and reactions.
The world of babies conceived via egg donation it’s the woman carrying the baby at the conception of life that starts the process of which genes are active and non-active. The birth mother helps shape the baby she carries from the moment that embryo is implanted in her uterus.
By Dawn Blank