Donor Eggs and Inheriting DNA

So it’s been a while since I posted, I was wondering what to do with this blog as it seems to have come to a successful conclusion but it does seem to be getting some readers so I thought I would post on some interesting stuff I saw the other day.

All is going well with baby boy by the way although he is not so much baby boy but a toddler now! He is fab and I couldn’t love him any more than I do, the DE thing really doesn’t matter to me at all. If you are thinking of using donor eggs then I would say do it – obviously there are some things you need to think about but if you really want a baby and that is the only way (or the one much more likely to result in success) then don’t hesitate.

Anyway, so I read a really interesting article about how the mother passes on some kind of DNA in the womb. Well I guess if you have looked into donor eggs then you might be aware of the term epigenetics – if not then Google it and you can find some useful info. There was also a program on the BBC recently about how what you eat/do etc affects the development of baby in the womb, so we add so much to the baby even if the fragment of original DNA is not ours. Many key pointers in the DNA of the baby are turned on or off by the gestational mother that the mother can really affect the outcome of the baby, so don’t underestimate that.

But the research that I saw reported recently showed possibly even more than that. It even implied that a donor egg baby can look a bit like the mother (and I have to say I tend to agree with this as I also have friends with DE babies who I do think at least resemble their mothers.

Professor Nick Macklon from Southampton University carried out the research in partnership with an IVF clinic in Spain and the results were really interesting. You can see some of the info here:┬ábut I am currently trying to see if I can find the actual research paper that would hopefully go into much more detail. This article doesn’t really explain much about what gets passed on and how they knew the DNA had passed to the baby but I guess that is what you get from tabloid reports. It would be nice to think that some of my boy’s traits come from me (and I often think they do, particularly his stubbornness!) and maybe even some physical things like he has a very similar hair consistency to me but I guess that could be coincidence.

I guess the problem is when you have anonymous egg donation that you don’t really know anything much about the traits of the donor so you can’t really compare. But really when they are only providing one cell there must be a heck of a lot of stuff that is influenced in the womb.

He’s Here!

Sorry it has taken me a bit of a while to post but at last baby boy is here. He is almost 2 weeks old now and came into the world following an attempted induction which resulted in 14 hours on the epidural before being taken down for an emergency c section as he was a bit stuck, being back to back, and the fact that my waters had broken quite a while before.

It’s obviously going to take a bit of a while to recover from the c section but baby boy is perfect and very handsome!

He didn’t really get to grips with breastfeeding so I am pumping and combining that with formula so that he gets enough nourishment.

Even though he came from a donor egg I can categorically say that I would feel no different towards him if he had my genetics. At the end of the day he is my boy and noone can take that away. In fact the only time I think of the donor egg situation is when friends and family are discussing who he looks like. I have to say that I am not sure when or even if I will tell him as it really shouldn’t and doesn’t make any difference, but obviously there will be repercussions either way so I will need to think about it carefully.

If anyone is hesitating with the idea of using donor eggs I would say that if you really want a child, then just do it, you really won’t regret it and your love for the baby will not change (from my experience anyway).

Obviously it is not all plain sailing and the baby blues have hit – I have been crying for absolutely no reason quite a lot. But hopefully this will go away soon and I really don’t feel sad or upset about anything.

Am starting to go out for walks with junior in the pram and look forward to getting out more as the weather gets better and he gets older :-)

Had the First Sweep

Well before this pregnancy business I didn’t really have much of an idea about all this stuff that goes on and I certainly would have wondered what is a sweep? if someone would have mentioned it to me! So they will usually give you a sweep if you have gone overdue and they want to try and speed up a natural birth. Basically a sweep involves the midwife sticking her fingers in your vagina and into your cervix and sweeping around to see if she can encourage labour. She can usually tell at this point how dilated you are and if the cervix is thinning out very much.

In my case I was 1cm dilated, which she said was more than she had expected given that I was only at 38 weeks. The cervix was still quite thick but she could feel my little boy’s head which is quite a weird thought! I go back for another sweep at the end of next week if this one doesn’t do anything. They say the chances of a sweep having an effect are pretty much 50/50. I think maybe less in my case as I am not post 40 weeks. However, I did have a bit of a show after the sweep and I have also felt quite sick/nauseous which seems to be quite a common side effect. I am in two minds about whether I want this to kick off labour or not as I feel like all is planned to happen the week after next, but I guess babies don’t actually run to a plan!

If it does kick off a natural birth then that is obviously much better than being induced so I think that is a good thing. I’m thinking that maybe a second sweep will do it anyway so if not next week then maybe the weekend after things will happen…

Scheduled For Induction

So I had my last scan at 36 weeks and met the consultant afterwards. All was measuring fine but due to my age (I am over 40), they want to induce me at 40 weeks if the baby has not arrived before then. I’m happy about this as I have heard that there is a chance that the placenta starts to deteriorate in older women so it is best not to go over your due date.

I have been monitored extra closely due to the fact that I used donor eggs, I guess this is still relatively new so they want to keep a check on you. I feel though that I’m likely to need less checking due to donor eggs because of the age of the donor but I’m not complaining about the extra scans etc.

So there are only a few weeks left to go. Kind of scary and exciting at the same time, knowing this little person is coming onto your life and turning everything upside down! I will have a couple of sweeps done by the midwife before my due date but I haven’t really heard that sweeps actually induce labour at all. Maybe they help to get you slightly dilated or something.

Cure for Leg Cramps!

So I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had started to get bad leg cramps and muscle spasms. When I saw the consultant at my 28 week scan she said it might be worth trying extra calcium and extra vitamin B tablets instead of the prenatal. However, she also said that the calcium would not work if I took extra iron as they counteracted each other. So in the end, as I was taking the extra iron, I didn’t try these extra vitamins.

However, I have found that as soon as i feel like a leg cramp or muscle spasm is about to hit, I can stop it in it’s tracks. All I need to do is to start wiggling my foot round from the ankle either in a circular motion or else just by kind of flapping it backwards and forwards. So far this ‘cure’ seems to have worked every time so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this continues to be the case.

32 Week Scan

So all went well at the 32 week scan. I can’t remember if I said why they were giving me extra scans at 28,32 and 36 weeks but it is basically because they count you as high risk having used donor eggs. To me it seems like I should be lower risk but I guess that using donor eggs is still in the minority so they don’t really have a record of a large number of people doing this so anything out of the ordinary is classed as high risk.

Anyway, baby was measuring right on track and all the fluid levels were fine so no problems there. They booked me in for the 36 week scan and said that it was likely that if everything was still OK and going to plan there then they would induce me at 40 weeks (i.e. on my due date) just because of my age. I am glad about this as I don’t really want to go over 40 weeks because I have read (OK too much googling maybe!) that there is a much higher chance of the placenta deteriorating after 40 weeks in women of ‘advanced maternal age’ such as me. it will also be good to know when things might happen I guess although that is a minor point.

Baby looked very cute at the scan as was sucking away at some fluid (so the US tech said). He looked very much fully formed and ready to go despite the fact that I still feel my bump is relatively small.

What Will My Donor Egg Baby Look Like?

OK so up until now the fact that I used donor eggs has not really bothered me that much – mostly it is just a question of when to tell the child that this was the case. The baby is mine and there is no disputing that and it won’t feel any different to if I used my own eggs so it was a no brainer to go ahead and use donor eggs for the cycle as the chances of it working with my eggs were pretty much nothing.

In fact I am quite positive about the donor egg situation as there are a lot of my own traits that I would not really want to pass on to a child! I guess everyone has their faults but for me the whole issue of passing down my genes is not one that bothers me that much at all.

So recently I have been wondering what will my donor egg baby look like? I know that he will half look like his father but as I didn’t see any pictures of the donor I really have no idea how the other half will look! Will it look so much different to me that other people will remark on it? I think in the early days probably not but maybe as he gets older people might start to wonder. I guess I will just have to wait and see. My donor supposedly had blonde hair and blue eyes but I’m not sure how blonde as the Spanish seem to count anything less than dark brown as blonde. Both myself and the father had blonde hair as children so I would kind of expect that anyway. I know I shouldn’t stress too much about it and at the end of the day I just want him to be here safe and well but I think as the birth gets closer a lot of new thoughts come into your head.

30 Weeks – Iron Slightly Low

OK so I have hit 30 weeks – wow, never ceases to amaze me how fast it goes from second trimester onwards! I went for another scan at 28 weeks (more checks because I used donor eggs rather than for any other reason but you would think that would give a better outcome, oh well, whatever, I guess more checks is better!). They also took some blood and tested my iron levels among other things. I said I had been feeling pretty tired but I thought that was just normal.

Anyway, I finally remembered to phone the doctor for the blood test results. In the meantime, however, I had decided to start taking iron tablet supplements anyway as I had some in the cupboard and my iron levels tend to be low. The results were quite borderline with me just being below the desired level as well as my red blood cell count being a bit below. As they were only marginal they said I didn’t need to take a supplement if I didn’t want to but I felt like it was a good idea.

Anyway, I have been taking iron supplements for about a week and I have to say I feel much better for it. I am less tired and feel like I have much more energy to get stuff done so I think it is the right decision. I think you are only supposed to take them until about week 35 or 36 so I’ll reconsider at that stage or maybe drop down to one every other day.

Mary Coustas’ Baby

So I like to keep up to date with older celebrities and whether they have become pregnant naturally or by using donor eggs. Sometimes it is really difficult to tell as they don’t like to give out that sort of information and I can kind of see why. In the situation where you are pregnant by using donor eggs then you want to be able to make the decision when or if you are going to tell the child. If the whole world knows then that decision is then taken out of your hands and anyone can throw it at you or your child in the future. I have to say I wouldn’t want to be in that position and have only told a few people about the fact that we have used donor eggs. In fact I now think I have told too many people but it is too late to turn the clock back!

On the other hand though when a well known person gets pregnant in the mid to late 40s, people are going to ask questions. And if people believe that they have got pregnant naturally then it may give false hope to those older couples that are trying. Although the chances are not too bad that you can get pregnant in your early and mid 40s, the chances of holding on to that pregnancy can be low and many of those in their 40s go through miscarriages.

Anyway, the subject of this post was someone who had a baby at the age of 49 recently, Mary Coustas an Australian actress. She has been quite public about her battle with infertility, her IVFs treatments and failures and the tragic loss of her stillborn daughter. She has also acknowledged that she has used donor eggs. So at the age of 49 it is very unlikely that she has suddenly turned the tables and been able to go back and use her own eggs in this pregnancy. Using donor eggs up to your mid 50s is quite common and the results can be pretty good. So it is more than likely this baby girl was conceived using a donor. Not that this makes the baby any less hers as I can well vouch for. The advances in medical science are a godsend for people like me in their 40s who really didn’t have a chance to get pregnant before and now can carry and bear their ‘own’ children.

As for Mary Coustas, I wish her and her family all the best and can guarantee that that little girl will be loved and spoiled as much (or maybe more than!) any other that was conceived naturally.

26 Weeks

Ok so I haven’t posted for a little bit. Not much new going on apart from the bump is growing every week. It now feels like baby has moved up higher into my chest so it makes it harder to bend down or slouch like I normally do! I had a midwife appointment at 24 weeks where they just did blood pressure and urine check, used the doppler to hear the heartbeat which was good and strong and also measured my belly which was on track. I was offered the flu vaccine but I turned it down as I generally don’t get flu I just get colds. I was advised to have the whooping cough vaccine after 28 weeks which I will book in to do shortly.

My next appointment is the scan and visit to the consultant at 28 weeks – not sure what s/he will chat about then but 28 weeks seems like there will be not long to go until baby is here! Have been looking at prams and nursery furniture but will probably wait until the January sales to see if we can pick up a good deal. Did buy a bunch of stuff on Amazon Black Friday week deals which I have yet to open as the boxes are sitting in my garage as the house is a building site! must check if I have everything I ordered though…