In your grandmother’s womb: The egg that made you.

29 Sep

The cell you came from was once inside of your mother’s fetus in her mother’s womb.

Although I was born in 1976, the egg that I came from was created in my grandmother’s womb– somewhere in Georgia, in 1946.

Want to calculate the vintage of the egg you came from?  Take your mother’s date of birth and subtract about 20 weeks.

That’s true because unlike males, who constantly generate sperm after they hit puberty, girls are born with their one and only lifetime supply of eggs.  Around the 20th week of gestation, a female fetus has developed a reproductive system, including 6 to 7 million eggs in her ovaries.

The matrilineal line looks much like a nested Russian doll.

The egg that created you was formed inside of your mother’s fetus while she was inside of your grandmother’s womb.

UPDATE: A few comments have pointed to a recent study in mice that suggests the possibility that a woman’s supply of eggs might be replenished. Questions remain about this controversial finding that scientists are working to understand, verify and replicate. We think it’s premature to revise the textbooks, but it’s exciting to consider new possibilities in science and to follow how they are validated or refuted by the scientific process. This finding, if true, could have implications for fertility treatment, so we’ll stay tuned!


34 Responses to “In your grandmother’s womb: The egg that made you.”

  1. Foo September 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Ahhg! Get it out! Get it out of me!

  2. Anonymous September 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Women may be able to create more eggs.

    • ted September 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

      no, no they can’t create more eggs. Womena are born with all the eggs they will ever have.

    • drannamplote September 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      no, actually, they are not. Eggs only deteriorate over time, and since it takes four every month to make one fertile oovum, the numbers decrease quite rapidly over time past puberty.

    • BETTY September 10, 2011 at 11:43 am #


    • Jen September 5, 2011 at 12:29 am #

      Doesn’t say CAN, says it’s a possibility but they have yet to put this in place with humans – don’t count your eggs before they’ve hatched!

  3. East London HypnoBirthingSoshanna September 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Here is a beautiful poem written about just this 🙂

  4. Linda September 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    What about the DNA and genes from the Father’s Mother?

  5. ~kp~ September 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    I guess I sorta knew that, but it sure sounds weird. By this logic, instead of being 28, I’ve been around for over 62 years. No wonder I feel so old when the kids want to run around all day!

    • eliz July 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      That is sooo funny

    • rina June 11, 2013 at 6:41 am #

      And your kids are really 28 (-:

  6. Siri L Jellen September 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Wow! My egg (the one I came from) is as old as yours, but I was born like a decade later than you!

  7. Debra Baker September 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    I didn’t get started when my mom was a 20 week old fetus in my grandmom’s womb.
    I needed a sperm with my dad’s 23 chromosomes to make me a normal female with 46 chromosomes.

    What *did* exist way back when my mom was bit a 20 week fetus was my mitochondrial DNA and all the organelles found in my cells to this day (that originated from those oocytes.) Now, my daughter is 26 weeks pregnant her mitochondrial DNA and organelles having origins in my ovaries when I was her age.

    May she go on to carry these into the future that I will not get to see with my own eyes.

  8. Debra Baca September 5, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    I think it’s also really cool to think about the generations to come when one day my daughter may conceive my grandchild with the eggs that were created in my womb only three years ago!

  9. flamidwyfe September 5, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    As a midwife, I LOVE this! Going to share on my wall…. At 47, the egg I came from developed 80 years ago… thanks, Mom 🙂

  10. goddessspiralhc October 11, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Thank you for posting this. It was really powerful for me to read. I shared your post via my Goddess Spiral Health Coaching FB page with a Matryoshka image I created. You can view it here:

    Thanks again! Blessings!

  11. Dawn momma dawn March 17, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    Wow! February 1937,Laura..March 1963,Emma?? Crazy! Love you guys so much!

  12. Cynthia June 14, 2016 at 1:16 am #

    Wow! So how do you think our grandmother’s influenced our genetic material if they created our eggs? Or is our dna separate from the eggs?

    • Tevah Platt June 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      YES… the egg that you “sprouted” from contained DNA from your grandmother– AND your grandfather. That egg contained half of the genetic information needed to make a Cynthia. The other half came when that egg was fertilized by a sperm– another special cell that contained DNA from your father (and his parents and ancestors). Look at your hand. It’s made of millions of cells and each one of them contains DNA from your parents and ancestors. Each cell contains about 25% of the DNA that your grandparents gave to you.

  13. Tevah Platt September 6, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Huge thanks to grrrkgrrrl for posting “TIL I was once inside my grandmother” — ours is a new blog & this post brought us our first surge in readers. Big hoorays and gratitude. And thanks to everybody for visiting, sharing & commenting! You warmed our cockles.

  14. Taylor November 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    Very poetic but probably not true. If this is to be a blog about a scientific topic, then the latest findings should be included:


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