Donor Eggs: From DNA to Z (Epigenetics)

Recording from Tuesday 10th November 2020

I chatted with Dr Helen O’Neill to understand more about DNA and it’s importance, but also how as mothers growing and nurturing our babies we are able to connect and influence them through epigenetics.

After struggling to conceive and with much focus on what we can’t do in having a genetic connection, this webinar was fascinating and really allowed us to visualise and focus on what we can do as mothers through this process.

“While many believe their DNA is unique to them, our genes have a one size fits all approach to biology. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is; evolve. This is (very simply) how functional genetic evolution has brought us to where we are. We share 99.5% of our DNA with each other. In fact, we share 95% of our DNA with hundreds of other species and organisms, including bacteria. We tend to feel that we only share our genetic signature with our families, when in fact, our genes are shared by all. What makes relationships unique are connections. Not just genetic ones.

Motherhood is about connection. But perhaps the truest connection between mother and baby is the physical connection. We grow, nurture and feed a clump of cells into a foetus into a baby. But the growing, nurturing and feeding are unique to every mother. That process, the supporting of life, is critical to the size, health and stability of that baby, of that human. I will be talking about how our uterus feeds the baby for the first 11 weeks, how our blood feeds the baby thereafter, and how our epigenetics leave a lasting signature on the DNA of a donor egg which lasts for life.”

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Speaker Bio

Dr Helen O’Neill

Dr Helen O’Neill is a lecturer in Reproductive and Molecular Genetics and Director for the MSc in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health at the Institute for Women’s Health, University College London (UCL).

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