Friday, February 1, 2013

Epigenetics

When we made the decision to "go donor," I always just felt like the kid that popped out of my womb would be my kid. In fact, I have told loved ones "I'll scratch the eyes out of anyone who tries to suggest otherwise." (use of the violent language to convey the point that I feel very very very strongly that my child is my child)

The concept of "epigenetics" is exactly what I was feeling. And now I have a word to use.

Epigenetics.

The idea that the fetus that develops in the womb is actually that womb's biological child.

That sounds strange, right? We were taught to believe that the fetus is 1/2 DNA from the sperm-donor and 1/2 DNA from the egg-donor. Meaning, a fetus conceived through egg donation would not be biologically related to the birth mother.

As far as DNA goes, I think that's probably still correct. I have to look deeper into that, but I'm not really that interested in it so who knows when or whether I'll actually look deeper.

Epigenetics is the idea that the womb grows the fetus rather than just being an incubator to the fetus:

Freedom Pharmacy published this great booklet about egg donation -- here an excerpt:

“Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all pregnancies- including egg donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her child. The fetus will use her body’s protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them. So, if you think of your dream child as your dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures. So, although her husband’s aunt Sara or the donor’s grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of the new baby’s earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman’s “flesh and blood.” That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient’s body. That is why she is the child’s biological mother. That is why this child is her biological child.”

Here are some links to the idea of epigenetics (I have not read all the info on them but am simply providing them):

http://tpvedo.blogspot.com/2009/07/women-who-give-birth-to-donor-egg.html

http://forums.fertilitycommunity.com/donor-issues-egg-sperm/277949-article-about-donor-egg-dna.html

http://www.allaboutsurrogacy.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=42386

http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/embryos-with-three-parents-created/2008/02/05/1202090418896.html

Like I said, I have no doubt that any baby I am lucky enough to push out of my womb (or have extracted through a c-section) would be my baby. I started looking into this idea for two reasons: (1) other peoples' reactions in the future, which I suspect will not always be as supportive as our current friends and family have been, and (2) my husband recently told me, when discussing canceling our last and final "natural" cycle "I want to have a baby with you, not some other woman." He doesn't really mean that and he is excited about egg donation. But when it came down to me saying "let's not even try this month, we have FOUR perfect embryos waiting for us," he thought "but if we have the chance to make our 'own' baby, let's try." I forward all these links and the idea to him and his response was awesome. He said:

That’s pretty good stuff. It’s you that matters here.
 
Love that man.

15 comments:

  1. I totally believe this. ALso, that your attitude and life around you while pregnant can make a ton of difference. Both of my parents swear that the reason my sister is so much trouble (and has been literally since birth) is that they were in a very bad place while pregnant with her.....and that it affected the person she was formed to be, while my other sister and I are totally normal, happy people.
    The pure glee you will have carrying those babies will shape them into who they will be. I swear R is such a happy baby because we were so damn thrilled to be pregnant and to have her :).

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  2. I just had a baby via ED in March. I feared feeling disconnected. I have never felt it. I feel as fiercely about him as I do my bio daughter who died. People tell me he looks just like me! (Even people who know both my donor and me, but don't know about the ED). I believe this is research that is just beginning. I like the comaprison to a house blueprint.

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  3. Who wrote that?! See this is the danger of people marketing to women desperate for a biological child. Please read a medical text book or go the the ASRM website that is very much pro egg donation and read that they very specifically explain that people are the biological children of the individuals who reproduced to create them. No the child is not constructed out of the flesh and blood of the woman carrying the pregnancy. In fact they share no blood at all with the host. The mother and fathers cells join and then divide and divide and divide into what will become their child. The mother and father are reproducing themselves during gestation. The host is not reproducing herself at all; she is providing an environment for their offspring to develop. Certainly her health can impact the development of their offspring but she's not reproducing her own body at all or building a baby. To read that phamplet it sounds as if the host is reproducing a whole baby but just needs some dna to finish it off. The host shares no blood with the fetus, not one drop. She provides food and a place to grow. Biological parenthood is established by being the biological source of the born individual so the mother of the child the one who is maternally related is the egg donor. Don't be fooled into thinking otherwise. Its all marketing. Please don't tell the child you raise that you are his or her bio mother.

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    1. I'm sorry for what happened to you, marilynn but you are the classic example of "misery loves company." Shame on you! For hurting those of use looking for some hope and a way to cope with having to make the choice of using donated eggs to experience the joy of motherhood. You are entitled to your opinion, but you should just keep it to yourself.

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    2. I'm sorry for what happened to you, marilynn but you are the classic example of "misery loves company." Shame on you! For hurting those of use looking for some hope and a way to cope with having to make the choice of using donated eggs to experience the joy of motherhood. You are entitled to your opinion, but you should just keep it to yourself.

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    3. Thank you, Hope. You took the words right out of my mouth. Marilynn's response was awful harsh and insensitive. Not sure why anyone would want to exert such bad energy. Very sad.

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    4. You don't know what you are talking about. Research epigenetics, please.

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  4. My daughter has tried for 3 years to get pregnant including IVF with her own eggs. It didn't work (she was diagnosed with DOR at age 33) and so she tried IVF ICSI with a donor egg and her own husband's sperm. It worked on the first try and my daughter is now 26 weeks pregnant with HER baby boy. She is NOT a surregate, and the donor has no claim to this baby. I hope she never reads what you wrote. Propaganda??? No, hope for women who otherwise would remain sadly childless. I can only assume you are fertile and had no problem getting pregnant.

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  5. Boomer Blogger no I was not a fertile gal who had no problem getting pregnant - well actually I could get pregnant real easy but I could not stay pregnant. I had 13 miscarriages and I had a son die the day he was born. So please don't be snotty to me. I was told I needed to use a donor egg to have a baby. All that meant was that I needed to carry some other woman's baby to be pregnant. She'd have to agree to conceive a child and she'd have to agree to let me carry that child and she'd have to agree to let me raise that child. Parent's don't need permission from anyone to carry their pregnancies or raise their children. That's because they are the first in the chain of authority they made the child themselves. I did not want any part of separating a person from their family in order that I should have the enjoyment of raising a kid. How could I live with my selfish behavior.

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    1. you are ignorant. Research epigenetics, please.

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  8. Dear Marilynn, I'm so sad to hear about your miscarriages. I had one only at 11 weeks and that was so painful and I still think about that little soul although I now have two children. Anyhow, I believed that the majority of people that donate eggs and sperm so that out of their will to help loving parents to conceive. The child, the soul that will be born via the donor would not have any mean to exist if it wasn't for the will of the loving couple to have a child. I flush eggs down the toilet every month. And men even more get rid of their sperm. ThaThe sperm would never be a child. I wanted to donate my eggs to an egg bank, just to help someone (but was refused because just over 35). Anyhow, I would have never considered that egg as my child. The will to house a soul does not come from me. That egg is one saved from the flush of the toilet by two loving parents allowing a child to be born by their will, love and nurturing. Epigenetics fortunately is not propaganda, it'seems relatively new scientific proven discovery and it gives lots of hope for the many topics it refers to and the many people it touches. I hope I have not made you feel uneasy Marilynn. It'seems just my opinion. I wish I could have helped. May you all be blessed. Love and happiness, Lxxx

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    1. You are sweet and compassionate about my son Sam and about how many miscarriages I had. I had so many! I appreciate your perspective, I do. I just think you might have been manipulated into forgetting stuff you know already.. You are incredibly sweet. I honestly believe that people who donate want to help and that people who commission just want to be parents plain and simple. I don't think anyone is out there deliberately hoping to hurt donor offspring.

      Look I am not a pro-lifer by any stretch of the imagination, I don't think an embryo is a baby nor do I think sperm or eggs are babies. I think babies are babies people are people. So If a gamete donor has no offspring that they are not themselves raising they have not abandoned a child. If they do have offspring that they are not raising then they have abandoned their child. Bottom line is that once a person has offspring it does not matter how they got to that point maybe they were a gamete donor or maybe they got pregnant in the back of a Buick it really makes no difference. Everyone has two and only two (so far) biological parents I mean the people who had to exist for them to exist - not influence - ers like gestational carriers or match makers who could be interchangeable.

      Do some investigating and read the difference between a true egg donation agreement that does not involve consent to fertilize make embryos or abandon any offspring. There are egg donors who really only give their eggs to look at ponder, study, store, transport and store again. Those donors are typically not paid but even if they were, they have not stated in writing that they will abandon any offspring when born. Nobody is hurt by them complying with the promises they made in that donor agreement

      Contrast that to the kind of agreement many egg donors sign for black market adoption of their kids at birth. They are frequently compensated for harvesting but only if they promise to abandon their children allow their eggs to be fertilized allow other women to carry their pregnancies. They could withdraw consent after harvest and then not be guilty of abandoning their kids if none are born - but if they do what they promise and fail to identify themselves as the mothers of their own offspring when born - they effectively sold their kid into black market adoption. It's reversible because it's not a real adoption all they have to do is come forward but few have the balls to do that.

      You are a sweet person. If you were a social worker whose job it was to place a newborn, not yours but just any newborn, would you have some criteria before handing the kid over to someone or would the ability to pay $30K in fees be enough to prove to you they are well suited to raising that baby? Cause that is the clearing house process for letting women and men take home an egg donor's baby and call that kid their own. No background check, no home study. Most egg donors who think they are doing this to be nice would not give their keys to their house to a homeless person to stay the weekend but they'll give their child to a childless person to raise for 18 years. Would you let a stranger drive your car for a week? Think about what you are saying. It's lovely that you want to help a childless person but you want to give those people your child? Why? What makes that kid less important to you than one you might have with a man you are in love with? Why would you want to raise one and not the other? What is driving your willingness to part with some but not all of your offspring?

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  9. Again I do think you are sweet. I think the vast majority of donors and recipients are probably great loving people. I think the industry capitalizes on soft spots of altruism or desire for a family and they just snow people into forgetting to think. I don't have illusions that I'm saying stuff you don't already know I just think a sincere desire to be loving and helpful is a weak spot for vultures who want to make money selling off your children without you even really noticing or understanding. They want you to think you are just giving up an egg you would have flushed anyway. Sure flushing it nobody gets born nobody gets hurt. But your signing a contract to create kids and when they are born you become a bio mother and if you keep on keeping your promises you will be a negligent abandoning bio mother with a heart of stone who sold your kid out of the family for a couple grand. You'd sign a black market adoption contract while they told you that you were just giving up a few eggs.

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