The UK has witnessed a historic medical milestone with the birth of the first baby conceived using the three-person DNA technique. This scientific achievement has opened the doors to new possibilities in the field of reproductive medicine and has generated an ethical debate around the implications of this technique.
The baby was born in a London hospital through a process called mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT). This technique allows parents to transmit their genetic material to the embryo, avoiding hereditary mitochondrial diseases.
Free of harmful mutations
This revolutionary technique involves the use of egg tissue from healthy female donors to create embryos through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) free of harmful mutations.
During the process, embryos are formed by combining sperm and eggs from the biological parents. In addition, small structures similar to batteries called mitochondria, which come from the donor egg, are incorporated. As a result, the baby has about 99.8% of the DNA of its biological parents. However, there is a small amount of genetic material from the donor, approximately 37 genes in all.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child and represents only 0.1% of the child’s genetic inheritance. If doctors detect abnormalities in the biological mother’s mitochondria, mitochondrial donation treatment may be a viable solution.
Until now, the clinical experience in the treatment of mitochondrial donation is encouraging, but experts warn that the number of registered cases is still limited to draw definitive conclusions about its safety and efficacy.
The birth of the first baby with DNA from three people has sparked a wide ethical and scientific debate in the UK and internationally. While some experts applaud this breakthrough in reproductive medicine as an opportunity to prevent devastating hereditary diseases, others express concern about the ethical implications and possible long-term effects.