Historic Birth: First UK baby with DNA from three people born after new IVF procedure
Written by Sanjay Kumar
A baby has been born in the UK using a special IVF procedure that involves DNA from three people. This procedure is called Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT).
They take the nucleus from the mother’s egg, which contains her DNA, and put it into a donor egg. The donor egg has its nucleus removed but keeps its healthy mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA provides energy for cells and is like a battery.
The purpose of this procedure is to create embryos that don’t have harmful mutations that the mother carries and could pass on to her children. However, it’s important to note that more than 98.8% of the baby’s DNA still comes from just two people, not three.
In 2015, the UK parliament approved this procedure, and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) reviews requests for its use. The first “three-parent child” in the UK was discovered through a Freedom of Information request to the HFEA. The clinic where the baby was born has reported that a few more babies have been born in the UK using MDT, but they don’t share specific information to protect patient privacy.
It’s worth mentioning that the UK is not the first country where babies have been born using MDT. In 2016, a child was born in Mexico using this procedure. The mother of that child had a serious condition called Leigh syndrome, which affects the nervous system and can be fatal. The birth of the baby in the UK was seen as good news by Professor Alison Murdoch, who leads the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, Newcastle University.
In conclusion, the birth of the first UK baby using DNA from three people through mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT) represents a groundbreaking achievement in assisted reproduction. This innovative IVF procedure offers hope to families affected by harmful genetic mutations, allowing for the creation of embryos free from these disorders.
While the term “three-parent baby” may be misleading, the successful implementation of MDT in the UK, along with births in other countries, highlights the progress and potential of genetic technologies in addressing inherited conditions. This milestone underscores the importance of careful regulation, ethical considerations, and ongoing research to further advance reproductive medicine and provide solutions for families facing genetic challenges.
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