One of the biggest fears of fertility patients that need egg donation is that their future baby will not look like them.
This is generally not the case for women who experience natural pregnancies. In natural pregnancies, the major concern tends to be the baby’s health. Physical resemblance is not considered a significant issue. An egg or sperm donation changes these circumstances and questions like the future child’s physical appearance become a concern.
Egg donation is one of the most popular treatment techniques at our clinic. Every day, we receive inquiries from women for whom egg donation is the only chance to become pregnant.
Egg donation is considered one of the few viable techniques for any woman over the age of 43 or 44. In many cases, without fertility treatment or even after having undergone IVF with one’s own eggs, pregnancy is not attained.
Egg donation and DNA: What if my baby does not resemble me?
Since all donors undergo multiple medical tests, the health aspect of the treatment and the future baby tends to cause less apprehension than the physical appearance of the donor, especially given that patients do not get to see any pictures of the donor. What is really interesting, is that the similarity between the child and the recipient (the woman who gets pregnant with donor eggs) happens more frequently than expected.
This is explained by the environment the baby is exposed to and the constant exchange of elements between mother and embryo via the umbilical cord, a conduit between the developing embryo and the placenta.
That is why, the DNA of the donor can be considered a roadmap of the future child, but it takes much more to shape an embryo into a baby, and that’s where the actual physical connection during the pregnancy becomes so important. The scientific field that studies the impact of the recipient on the baby’s development is called epigenetics.
Egg donation continues to be a taboo
Egg donation continues to be a taboo theme. Nowadays, there is a growing percentage of women who use egg donation treatment to achieve pregnancy. It is also true, however, that many patients do not share treatment details with their family and friends as it is difficult for the patients to initially accept that the baby is not their biological child.
The importance of genetics and the epigenetics in egg donation
We are all aware of the fundamentals of genetics and how they impact our lives. Most people, however, do not know much about epigenetics, despite the fact that it plays a significant role in child development during pregnancy, especially in treatments using donor eggs. According to the biologist Peter Medawar: “Genetics proposes; epigenetics disposes.” In other words, genetics provide the child with genes, but epigenetics determines whether these genes will be activated based on the person who carries the baby.
Everything a child gets from the mother during the pregnancy, particularly the environment in which it grows up, influences and is reflected in the similarity between mother and child, despite the diversity of DNA.
Fenomatch ensures maximum similarity
At ProcreaTec we understand the concern regarding physical similarity, which is why we offer the latest technology to our patients, combined with our specialists’ experience, in order to ensure the maximum similarity between the donor and the patient.
The most recent technological development is FenoMatch. FenoMatch is a software which allows us to find the most suitable donor, through its cutting-edge facial recognition technology which measures biometric data of donors and compares them to our patients, using pictures.
This software serves as technical support to our donor selection department. The final decision is made by the doctor and nurse who know the patient and have met the donors personally. With all the information and technology, they then find the best match.
At ProcreaTec, the well- being of our patients is very important to us, which is why we do our best to support our patients on their treatment journey and enable them to proceed without reservations or fears.