You did it. You found the perfect donor.
Right age? Check. Good education? Check. Looks like a family member? Check. Active? Talented? Driven? Check. Check. Check.
And then you get the news. Your donor has been identified to be a carrier of a genetic condition.
What does this mean, and how can this affect your child? Do you need to start your donor search all over? Here’s our guide to all your questions regarding your donor’s genes.
Do the Results Really Matter?
Everyone is a carrier of something. In fact, most traditional couples don’t get tested at all before they decide to have a baby. And if a baby is born with a congenital condition, they just do their best to care for their child.
But when it comes to IVF and egg donation, science has made genetic screening possible. We can identify specific genes that can give parents helpful insight.
That being said, just because your donor is a carrier, you may not need to set her aside right away.
Here’s what you need to consider:
Autosomal Recessive Conditions
In many cases, both egg and sperm must carry a variant of the same disease for the pregnancy to be considered at risk. This is what we call autosomal recessive conditions.
Some diseases in this category include:
Cystic Fibrosis: A genetic disorder that harms the lungs. It can also cause damage to the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestines. There is no known cure.
Alpha-Thalassemia: A disorder that limits the production of hemoglobin found in red blood cells.
Beta-Thalassemia: A blood disorder that causes severe anemia within the first few years of life.
Sickle Cell Anemia: A blood disorder that can cause severe infections and stroke.
Tay Sach Disease: A rare genetic disorder that attacks nerve cells. The onset is usually around six months.
Both the sperm donor and egg donor must be carriers of the same disease-causing variant for your baby to have any added risk. If both donors are carriers of the same disease, we strongly suggest finding a new donor.
Some autosomal recessive conditions are too high of risk regardless of the condition of the sperm, such as Fragile X syndrome or Duchenne muscular dystrophy. If a female donor is a carrier for either of these conditions, she will not be able to donate her eggs.
Carriers Often have Healthy Kids
If the egg donor is found to be a carrier of a disease, it’s not the end of the world. As long as the child can get a working copy of the gene from the sperm, your child should be born healthy.
The child may end up being a carrier for that condition but will show no ill effects and will be able to lead a perfectly normal life.
How Serious is the Condition?
Another question to consider is how severe the condition that could be passed on is. Donors who are carriers of intellectual disabilities or high-risk conditions would be disqualified. But some conditions that are passed on may not be too severe.
Some babies are born with congenital diseases that can be fixed with a single surgery. Other conditions have different variables when it comes to the age of onset and severity.
Information is Powerful
We get it. This is heavy stuff to process. No one wants to play Russian Roulette with their child’s health. And the truth is, the more we know, the harder the decisions can become. As science advances, more and more diseases are linked to genetics. This means more and more donors are being identified as carries of certain genetic conditions.
If you have any concerns about genetic screenings, we encourage you to talk to a genetic counselor. Information is powerful. This information could help you, your children, and even your grandchildren!
Confused? We Can Help
At Elevate Egg Donors and Surrogates, we believe in giving families the best chances possible of having a happy and healthy baby. We won’t rest until you find the perfect donor for your family. This means she will have the look, the personality, and the genes that are right for you.
So don’t hesitate to contact us today. We have the best donors from all over the world. Our screening standards are higher than any other agency. We’re sure you’ll find the donor you’ve been looking for.