The Season of Giving and Receiving: Considerations Around Using Egg Donation

It's the season for giving and receiving, and from a fertility perspective, we can extrapolate this theme into exploring egg or embryo donation.

This is usually quite a leap for any woman or family from how they originally imagined their path towards growing a family. Although the statistics are very favorable for women who are not able to use their own eggs (an average birth rate per embryo transfer of 55% for all egg donor recipients), this does not necessarily initially demure the difficulty of this decision.

The field of evolutionary biology suggests maternal cells are shared with your fetus to make it "your own" baby.

There is some interesting information emerging in evolutionary biology around the ideas of how our environment can actually shape our DNA (which was previously thought to be fixed by our heredity). One aspect being studied in this way is the uterine environment.  Research is demonstrating how some of how the mother's system influences changes in baby's actual physiology . Simply put - baby literally incorporates part of the carrying mother's genetics regardless of whether or not they started from her egg.

This idea is still speculative, and the conclusive science so far is that really only a few of the carrying mother's cells gets to baby, but it can be a basis to start to consider the possibilities of what an intimate relationship you share with a baby that you carry and how much room there may be to influence that relationship and make the process your own.

There are of course many layers to this topic - others being the evaluation of any stigma or judgment about not carrying "your own baby," your value system around your motivations to have a child etc. Women and families who have gone through this report more often than not that the original challenges fade when the baby arrives. After all, you carry them, birth them, and provide for them. So, they really do become a part of you in one way or another.

So, if this is where you find yourself, give yourself the room to explore this option and all it's grey areas and potentially give yourself the gift of the family that you desire.

Here is a book you may find interesting on the topic of in utero influences:

Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives
by Annie Murphy Paul 


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As this is a laden topic, you may want to consult with some fertility expert therapists. You can draw on the Integrative Fertility list to see if anyone is the right match to help you work through this profound subject: Fertility Therapists