‘Three parent’ baby born using new technique
USA - A boy with three genetic parents became in April the first infant born using a controversial new method that relies on DNA from two women and one man, according to New Scientist.
A team of U.S.-based doctors performed the procedure in Mexico for a Jordanian couple, who opted for the procedure to prevent their child from developing a fatal disease carried by his mother. Embryologists believe the technique, not yet approved in the United States, could usher a new wave of developments in medicine around the world, the magazine reported.
The child’s mother carries the genes for Leigh Syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects cells’ mitochondria and resulted in four previous miscarriages for the couple. The child has shown no signs of the disease, New Scientist reported. The couple had been trying to start a family for nearly 20 years.
John Zhang and a team from New York City’s New Hope Fertility elected to perform the procedure in Mexico, where “there are no rules,” Zhang said.
The technique created an egg that paired the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs with the disease-free mitochondrial DNA from a donor’s egg, the magazine explained. That egg was then fertilized with sperm from the father.
Out of five embryos created from the method, one developed normally. Zhang’s team implanted that embryo into the mother, and nine months later, on April 6, the child was born. The United Kingdom allows the creation of babies from three people despite the ethical questions it raises. A U.S.-based doctor, Jacques Cohen, developed a previous three-parent fertility method in the 1990s. His clinic helped birth 17 babies using that technique. But some of the fetuses resulting from the technique were missing X chromosomes. One child showed early signs of a developmental disorder. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration asked the clinics to cease using the technique. They all did.