HOW DO MEDICS CREATE A ‘THREE-PARENT BABY’
The technique could be used for anything – from avoiding disease to altering a baby’s appearance.
For now, disease is the focus.
The world’s first ‘three-parent’ baby was created to prevent him inheriting a genetic condition his mother carries in her mitochondria.
The disease – Leigh’s syndrome – would have killed him within a few years.
HOW IS THE PROCEDURE DONE?
1. Take eggs from a mother with damaged mitochondria.
2. Take eggs from a donor with healthy mitochondria.
3. Remove and save the nucleus from the mother’s egg. This contains the majority of her genetic material.
4. Remove and discard the donor’s nucleus.
5. Place the mother’s nucleus in the donor’s egg with the healthy mitochondria.
6. The egg can then be fertilized by the father’s sperm.
3 Parent Baby Created In Mexico To Avoid Breaking Laws
Dr Zhang told the New Scientist that, as the technique has not been approved in the US, the team went to Mexico where “there are no rules”.
“To save lives is the ethical thing to do,” he added.
Two women, one man and a baby
A Jordanian couple has been trying to start a family for almost 20 years. Ten years after they married, she became pregnant, but it ended in the first of four miscarriages.
In 2005, the couple gave birth to a baby girl. It was then that they discovered the probable cause of their fertility problems: a genetic mutation in the mother’s mitochondria. Their daughter was born with Leigh syndrome, which affects the brain, muscles and nerves of developing infants. Sadly, she died aged six. The couple’s second child had the same disorder, and lived for 8 months.
Using a controversial “three-parent baby” technique (see main story), the boy was born on 6 April 2016. He is showing no signs of disease.
The world’s first child created using a controversial “three-parent” baby technique has been born in Mexico, it has been announced.
Limited details about the birth were revealed ahead of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s scientific congress in Salt Lake City next month, where it will be discussed more fully.
According to critics, the procedure is tantamount to genetic modification of humans or even “playing God”. But supporters say it allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children who are related to them.
A report in the New Scientist magazine said the baby was now five months told. His parents are Jordanians and the work was carried out by a team of experts from the US.
The child’s mother has Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system and would have been passed on in her mitochondrial DNA.
Although she is healthy, two of her children have died as a result of inheriting the disease: a girl who lived until she was six and an eight-month-old baby.
There are different ways of creating a so-called three-parent baby.
The technique used by Dr John Zhang, of the New Hope Fertility Clinic in New York, and his team involved taking the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs – containing her DNA – and implanting it into a donor egg that had its nucleus removed but retained the donor’s healthy mitochondrial DNA.
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