Doctors in Greece says they’ve made ‘medical history’ as they’ve produced a baby from three people in order to overcome a woman’s infertility.
The baby boy was born to a 32-year-old woman, who had gone through four unsuccessful cycles of IVF .
The controversial technique was developed to help families affected by mitochondrial diseases, which are passed down from mother baby.
It uses an egg from the mother, sperm from the father, and an egg from a donor woman.
By using an egg from a donor woman, the technique essentially swaps a woman’s defective mitochondrial DNA with that of a donor.
This means that despite being termed ‘three parent babies’, the resulting baby’s DNA will mostly come from the two parents who supplied the egg and sperm, with just a tiny proportion from the donor.
This is only the second time the technique has been used.
Dr Panagiotis Psathas, president of the Institute of Life in Athens, said: "A woman's inalienable right to become a mother with her own genetic material became a reality.
"We are very proud to announce an international innovation in assisted reproduction, and we are now in a position to make it possible for women with multiple IVF failures or rare mitochondrial genetic diseases to have a healthy child.”
However, the technique has sparked controversy, with some critics claiming it’s a step towards ‘designer babies.’
The baby born in Greece is particularly controversial, given that the mother did not have a mitochondrial disease.
Tim Child, Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, said: “I’m concerned that there’s no proven need for the patient to have her genetic material removed from her eggs and transferred into the eggs of a donor.
“The patient does not have an inherited disorder that is being treated by spindle transfer, unlike women with inherited mitochondrial disease.
“The risks of the technique aren’t entirely known, though may be considered acceptable if being used to treat mitochondrial disease, but not in this situation.
“The patient may have conceived even if a further standard IVF cycle had been used. Without a proper well designed study, with the use of controls, it is not possible to say whether this technique has benefitted the patient.”
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