Baby on board
After four in vitro fertilization cycles, a Greek woman and her partner could not imagine yet. But now the 32-year-old woman is pregnant – and her baby is born with DNA from three people.
While other couples have used the same procedure known as mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent their offspring from inheriting genetic diseases, this is the first time that researchers have used it in a fertility treatment clinical trial – a new one Hope for millions of couples around the world who have problems with conception.
A Dash of DNA
Maternal Spindle Transfer In mitochondrial replacement therapy, physicians donate the core of a female egg to a donor whose nucleus has been removed. Then they fertilize the egg with sperm and implant it in the woman.
Thus, a couple can avoid having their baby inherit health problems with the mitochondria of the woman lying within the egg but outside the cell nucleus.
Nucleus contains 99.8 percent of a person's genes, the baby inherits most of his mother's DNA along with that of his father ̵
A Jordanian woman gave birth to the first baby conceived through mitochondrial replacement therapy. However, she underwent a procedure to prevent her child from inheriting Leigh syndrome, a genetic defect that would have been fatal to the baby.
The following year, doctors in Ukraine claimed that they would help an infertile couple through the same therapy. However, this pregnancy was not part of a formal clinical trial, in contrast to this recent study, conducted by a team of the Spanish Embryotools and the Institute of Life in Greece.
A New Hope
The pregnancy of Greek women may be an indication that mitochondrial replacement therapy is a viable option for infertile couples – but we still have a long way to go before it becomes a common infertility treatment says Gloria Calderón, Director of Embryotools.