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Groundbreaking IVF Procedure Produces First UK Baby with DNA from Three People
10 May 2023 • In a groundbreaking development, doctors in the UK have successfully performed an IVF procedure that allows parents to have children free from incurable diseases. The technique, called mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT) or mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), involves using healthy tissue from egg donors to create embryos that are free from harmful mutations. These mutations, carried by the mothers, could be passed on to their children and cause severe, progressive, and often fatal diseases. By combining the sperm and egg of the biological parents with a small amount of genetic material from the donor's egg, the resulting baby has DNA from three individuals. However, over 99.8% of the DNA still comes from the parents.
The pioneering research on MDT was conducted by doctors at the Newcastle Fertility Centre, who aimed to help women with mitochondrial mutations have children without the risk of genetic disorders. Harmful mutations in the mitochondria can lead to debilitating conditions affecting the brain, heart, muscles, and liver. The UK changed its laws in 2015 to permit MDT, and the Newcastle clinic became the first national center licensed to perform the procedure.
While the procedure offers hope, it is not without risks. Some cases have shown that a small number of abnormal mitochondria from the mother's egg may multiply during pregnancy, potentially leading to disease in the child.
The UK is not the first country to achieve successful births through MDT, as the first case occurred in the US in 2016. The long-term safety and efficacy of MDT require further research and continuous follow-up of the children born through the procedure. It is crucial to regulate and assess this technology carefully.
Source: The Guardian | Read full story