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Three parent baby IVF legalized in UK


Three parent baby IVF is cutting edge IVF technology in which the future baby’s mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party (Donor egg). Such treatment results in human offspring with three genetic parents, the so-called three-parent baby.

It is indicated to prevent mitochondrial diseases being passed on to children. Mitochondria are small structures that sit inside our cells and provide them with energy. Mitochondria have the small set of only 37 genes apart from the major set of genes in our nucleus.  Mitochondrial genetic disorders are known to affect about one in 200 children (mild ones). Rarely Mitochondrial disorder may be seriously affecting heart, liver, eyes, muscles. (Incidences of serious mitochondrial disorders is approximately one in 6500 ). Till today there is no treatment for mitochondrial disorders. So the new technique offers hope for many couples.

There are two techniques to stop mitochondrial diseases being passed from mother to child.


1. Mitochondrial spindle transfer (MST):  In this, eggs are collected from mother and donor lady using standard IVF procedure. The nucleus from Mother’s egg is removed and placed inside donor egg from which its nucleus has already been removed and destroyed. The hybrid egg is then fertilized with the father’s sperm.



2. Pronuclear transfer: In this technique but both the mother and donor’s eggs are fertilized first with the father’s sperm. Before the eggs divide into early-stage embryos, the parents’ chromosomes are removed from the mother’s egg and placed into the donor egg, (after removing the donor’s set of chromosomes first)








In this manner only 0.21 of total genetic information is contributed by the donor lady &the main genetic information comes from the intended mother.

There are many ethical concerns in this procedure and heated debates are going on around the world that whether it is okay to play with the genes of future generations. It is currently not approved for general use in any country except the UK, which legalized it in 2015.

This technique is also likely to offer help to older women who wish to have their own genetic child by means of transferring nucleus from mother’s egg to donor’s egg. But there are many ethical questions that need to be settled before it actually comes into clinical practice.

Posted on Categories Three-Parent Baby

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