A baby girl was born earlier this month with DNA from three parents as doctors used a new but controversial fertilization method called mitochondrial donation in an infertility case.
Mitochondrial donation is an already used procedure. Its full name is MRT. More exactly, it is mitochondrial replacement therapy. It is a special form of in vitro fertilization. Basically, it features the DNA of three people. The prospective parents, and a third donor. This latter donates her mitochondrial DNA.
The technique is only used in special cases. It is utilized when the mother carries genes for potential mitochondrial diseases. A baby could such genes could be born or develop some quite serious diseases.
Mitochondrial donation is usually performed through two methods. One is maternal spindle transfer. The other is pronuclear transfer.
And this later was used for this miracle baby. The mitochondrial donation had a new used this time. Its common use has already been presented. But a team of Ukrainian doctors had a different idea. They used pronuclear transfer in order to try and treat infertility.
The procedure was seen to have even worked. On January 05, a baby girl was born in Ukraine. She has DNA from three parents. And the baby is healthy.
Ukrainian doctors took to trying the new use. They are part of the Kiev Nadiya clinic. And they were led by Valery Zukin. The family went to several unsuccessful in vitro fertilization attempts.
Dr. Zukin’s team, however, achieved a new feat. They were able to perform a pronuclear transfer. The mother’s eggs were fertilized with the father’s sperm. The result of the fertilization is called a pronucleus. This was then transferred in another woman’s embryo.
This embryo was then implanted into the mother’s womb. Reportedly, the pregnancy was quite normal. And the resulting baby was born healthy. And with three parents.
Dr. Zukin went to confirm both facts. The baby girl is indeed healthy. And she does have three sets of DNA.
Mitochondrial DNA is a somewhat touchy subject. It was approved in the United Kingdom back in 2015. And in 2016, it was also regulated. The procedure was also recently used in Mexico. It was utilized so as to help the parents have a healthy child. Otherwise, it may have been born with Leigh disease. The mother suffers from this genetic nervous disorder.
According to Zukin, the situation is simple in Ukraine. The procedure is just not forbidden. And there are no regulations that target it.
One of the main problems posed by the method is the following. The now baby could transfer its genetic modifications to its own future children.
The Ukrainian newborn’s state was followed throughout the pregnancy. And she will continue to be monitored. This will last at least five more years. The baby’s genetic health will be constantly monitored. And will continue to be checked-up.
The baby born in Mexico had a slightly different mitochondrial donation therapy. It was conceived through spindle nuclear transfer. And the method was used so as to try to beat Leigh’s disease.
In Ukraine, the pronuclear transfer was used as a sort of “cure” for infertility. More likely an alternative method. The mother’s infertility is reportedly “unexplainable”. And as another first, she does not suffer from mitochondrial diseases. She is the first 3 parent-baby whose parents do not have mitochondrial issues.
The baby’s monitorization will target “all known diseases”. It will also be on the look-out for genetic problems. And she may not be the only such baby.
Reports state that Dr. Zukin has another such patient. This second baby, similarly conceived, is reportedly due in March.
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