Egg Donor: Predicting Your Child’s Eye Color

For most intended parents, eye color is not a hill worth dying for. But for some, eye color may be a distinctive family trait and therefore harder to let go of.  Eye color is complex and not definitively predictable.  While the basics of what we all learned in high school biology generally holds true: brown tends to be dominant over either green or blue and green tends to be dominant over blue…two blue eyed parents can produce a brown or green eyed child.

Eye color is a hereditary factor passed on from our parents but there are many factors, and several genes, that can influence the outcome.   While it may seem that everyone in the family has blue eyes on both sides it may still be that one or both blue-eyed parents may pass along a hidden gene for green or brown eyes.

All children are born with blue eyes.  Melanin deposits, in the form of two black and yellow pigments, determine eye color that develops slowly after birth.  The distribution of these deposits, in the form of particles are what determines the color and its intensity.  A child’s eye color usually stabilizes between six months and three years of age.  If there are no melanin deposits, then blue eyes result.   The proportion of yellow melanin, combined with black melanin creates different shades of colors ranging from brown to blue, including green and hazel.  Melanin can also be affected by environmental factors and using certain medications.

When your best option for building your family is via egg donation my strongest recommendation is to find egg donor candidates who you like for who they are, not for their perceived ability to produce specific traits.  You may choose an egg donor because she has beautiful blue eyes and still have a child with lovely green eyes due to the somewhat random distribution of genes that are blended with your spouse’s genetics. 

Remember, we are not in control of our children’s genetic outcome regardless of how we form our families, whether through natural conception, IVF or egg donation.

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