At Leiden University Medical Center, a team of pathologist carried out an experiment for procreating woman and those who have procreated and died. They ran an experiment by collecting tissue from 26 women who had died during or just after pregnancy. Each of the 26 woman carried sons. The scientists were looking for male cells in female bodies. The researchers found cells with Y chromosomes in every tissue sample they examined. These male cells were strangely uncommon. At most they only made up about one in every 1,000 cells. Significantly the male cells were present in every organ that the scientists had studied. The scientist studied brains, hearts, kidneys and etc. In the 1990s, scientists found that cells from both sons and daughters were exposed from the uterus and spread through a mother’s body. The new study suggests that women almost always acquire fetal cells each time they are pregnant. They have been detected as early as seven weeks into a pregnancy.
In later years, the cells may disappear, but sometimes, the cells settle in for a lifetime. They called the phenomenon fetal microchimerism. This specific name was named after the chimera. The Chimera is a monster from Greek mythology that was part lion, goat and dragon.
In recent years, researchers have found many clues suggesting that microchimerism can affect a woman’s health. Tumors may be jam packed with fetal cells. This suggested that they might help drive cancer. Yet other studies have suggested that fetal microchimerism protects women against the disease. “In each instance of a disease, it seems like there is this paradox,” said Amy M. Boddy, a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University.
Fetal microchimerism has been found in a number of mammal species. The species were dogs, mice and cows. It’s likely that fetal cells have been a part of maternal life for tens of millions of years. It is even suggested that fetal cells may produce chemicals that influence the mother’s biology. This would allow the fetuses to manipulate her from within. Some cells may help maintain the health of the mother by healing her wounds. Fetal cells are frequently found in breast tissue, even in milk.
Mothers also nurture their babies with body heat. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, acts like a thermostat. The fetal cells in the thyroid gland, in theory could cause mothers to generate more heat then otherwise done before. This biological tension might help explain how fetal microchimerism sometimes causes harm to a mother. It may simply be an occasional side effect of the cells’ manipulations.