First UK Baby with Three-Person DNA Born to Prevent Mitochondrial Diseases
IVF.net Newsdesk10 May 2023
The United Kingdom has welcomed its first baby conceived with DNA from three individuals, thanks to a revolutionary IVF technique called mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT). This groundbreaking method aims to prevent children from inheriting incurable diseases caused by mutated mitochondrial DNA.
MDT combines sperm and egg from the biological parents with healthy mitochondria from a female donor's egg. As a result, the baby receives DNA from both parents, as well as a small percentage of genetic material from the donor. The phrase "three-parent babies" has emerged due to the technique, even though more than 99.8% of the DNA comes from the mother and father.
The Newcastle Fertility Centre pioneered MDT research, intending to help women with mutated mitochondria have healthy children without passing on genetic disorders. In 2015, the UK Parliament approved MDT, and by 2018, the Newcastle clinic was licensed to perform the procedure. The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has since granted permission for at least 30 cases on a case-by-case basis.
The HFEA confirmed that a few babies have been born in the UK following MDT, without providing further details or an exact number. The treatment program experienced delays due to the pandemic, which discouraged some donors and affected couples seeking therapy.
These details have come to light following a Freedom of Information request submitted by The Guardian newspaper.
While MDT is a significant breakthrough, it is not without risks. In some cases, abnormal mitochondria from the mother's egg can multiply in the donor egg, potentially leading to disease in the child. However, clinical experience with MDT has been promising, but long-term follow-up is crucial to determine its safety and efficacy.