Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Surrogate Mother Donors
Name: Brooke
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: OR
Country: United States
Date: May 2006

I was reading about mitochondrial DNA, and thinking of something a doctor said, which is that surrogate mothers could probably donate an organ to the baby they carried (who did not come from their own egg), and the baby would not reject the organ. Is this true? If so, is it because of mitochondrial DNA or something else?

I don't believe it is true. Also, the compatibility of tissues is not to my knowledge carried on the mitochondrial chromosome. A human chromosome in containing the "major histocompatibility complex" is chromosome #6 as I recall. Why this would not come into play in a surrogate situation is beyond me...but many times I have been surprised by human genetics.


It is not true that a surrogate mother would be able to donate an organ to the child she carried. Remember that the child's mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the biological mother's ovum.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

My inclination is that no, the surrogate mother is just an "incubator" and doesn't contribute any DNA to the baby.


Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory