Microchimerism – Meaning, Causes and Effects


I know this sounds strange. In the fascinating world of genetics and pregnancy, there are mysteries that continue to astound and amaze us. One of it is microchimerism

Microchimerism refers to the presence of a small number of cells or DNA from one individual within another. This phenomenon occurs in various ways, but one of the most common occurrences is during pregnancy. When a woman becomes pregnant, her body and the developing fetus engage in a complex biological dance, leading to the exchange of cells and genetic material between the mother and her unborn child. Don’t forget that the fetal genetic material contains that of the father and the mother.

Microchimerism - Meaning, Causes and Effects
Microchimerism – part of the reason couples look alike after marriage

During pregnancy, fetal cells, including DNA, can cross the placental barrier and enter the mother’s bloodstream. These cells, often referred to as “fetal microchimeric cells,” can persist in the mother’s body for many years, or even for the rest of her life. These cells can integrate into various tissues and organs, influencing the mother’s physiology in unique ways. A woman’s straight hair can transform to curly ones. A woman that’s very attractive can look less attractive if her husband is significantly less attractive.

And you know what’s crazy, this starts to happen when the foetus is 4-5 weeks old. So, even if she aborts the baby at 2 months or three months or had a miscarriage, part of the man’s DNA may have find their way into her genome. This is probably why couples begin to look like each other after a long time. Pregnancy after pregnancy, the woman keeps inheriting very small portion of the man’s DNA and the activation of these genes makes her to start looking like the man.

Microchimerism is a remarkable biological phenomenon that showcases the intricate interplay between a mother’s body and her developing fetus during pregnancy. While it may seem surprising that a man’s genes can influence a woman’s hair texture, this phenomenon highlights the incredible complexity of human genetics and the enduring connections formed between mother and child.

So, the next time you encounter someone with “mysterious” transformation during pregnancy, you can appreciate the role of microchimerism in this fascinating journey of genetic exchange and discovery.

Microchimerism and miscarriage

During pregnancy, there are a small number of cells that transfer between mom and baby. As you get further along in pregnancy, the amount of cells transferred between the two increase. This transfer is referred to as “Microchimerism” or in this case, fetal microchimerism.

In some studies, the moms DNA has been found in the child into their adult years while moms carry their child’s DNA for decades after carrying their baby.

Have you ever wondered by after loss, you feel so different? It’s not just the grief or the experience of loss. Your body has legitimately changed. Your child really changed everything, your life, your body.

It doesn’t matter how early your loss is, your baby existed and even if your baby’s DNA is living on for months after they do – that’s a little extra time.

And even though you can’t feel their presence, they are still with you. Running through your veins ❤️ Now that I have my rainbow baby, it brings me so much joy to know that the two babies I lost played a big role in my rainbow pregnancy. They were there the whole time.

Arojinle and Dr Udomoh wrote this


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