Foreign fetal cells persist in the maternal circulation

Zev Williams, Dimity Zepf, Janina Longtine, Raymond Anchan, Betsy Broadman, Stacey A. Missmer, Mark D. Hornstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether allogenic fetal cells resulting from donor egg pregnancies persist in maternal circulation. Design: Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the DYS14 sequence, a region of the Y chromosome, from DNA purified from peripheral blood cells. Setting: Academic medical center. Patient(s): Healthy 18-60-year-old women who have had donor egg pregnancies resulting in a male offspring (n = 11) or, as a control, female offspring (n = 8), at least 1 year previously and without any other source for male cells in their peripheral blood or a healthy male. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Detection of DYS14 sequence by nested PCR. Result(s): DYS14 was detected in 5/11 (45%) of women who had donor egg pregnancies resulting in a male offspring, but in 0/8 (0) of women who had donor egg pregnancies resulting in a female offspring. The longest interval between delivery of a male offspring and detection of the DYS14 gene was 9 years. Conclusion(s): Unmatched, allogenic fetal cells from donor egg pregnancies are able to persist in the circulation of healthy women for at least 9 years after delivery. This implies a novel mechanism by which immunologic detection is avoided by these cells and may impact on how they may be used for regenerative and transplant medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2593-2595
Number of pages3
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal microchimerism
  • donor eggs
  • regenerative medicine
  • stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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