Help! My Egg Donor Has A Genetic Disease!
Many intended parents looking for an egg donor are scared when they find out that their egg donor is a carrier of an inherited disease. This information may be on the donor’s profile, after she’s been through a successful donation cycle.
They often make a rash decision not to match with a donor who has a known carrier status, fearing that this means their child will be born with a non-treatable genetic illness.
But this fear may also mean they lose out on a great egg donor whose carrier status implies no significant risk to their offspring.
We all have a number of recessive genes mutations that do not cause disease as we have a normal functioning copy of the gene that is enough to avoid the disease.
Many types of genetic disorders are transmitted by the autosomal recessive pattern. It means that if a person has both of the defective genes from their parents they could develop the disease. However if they are only a carrier they won’t show any sign or symptom of the disease but there is a chance that they transmit the carrier status to their biological child.
So the short answer to this question “would my child get the disease if my egg donor is a carrier?” is NO, if the genetic transmission pattern is autosomal recessive and the father is not a carrier of the same disease.
It is important for intended parents to understand that there is a difference between being a carrier of a specific disease and having the actual disease. It is also essential for them to understand the chances of having a baby with that particular disease when the genetic maternal link – the egg donor - is a carrier.
If intended parents are worried about anything, we always recommend that they consult with a genetic counselor, who will discuss their family history and that of the donor.
Our advice to intended parents is always to refer your fears to your fertility doctor and a qualified genetic counselor. While some of these genetic markers may sound ominous, they could be a normal part of our own genetic makeup with no bearing on the health of your future children.
-Dr. Shiva Fate is a Medical Consultant and Senior Case Manager at Donor Concierge. Shiva holds a Medical Doctorate degree from Azad Medical University of Tehran and also a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California.