Thanks to significant medical innovation, a baby has been born in the United Kingdom with three parents! This achievement means that newborns will no longer inherit mitochondrial diseases.
Although something like this has happened in the past, this is the first time in the history of the United Kingdom that a child has been born with three parents.
Two mothers and one father
This was made possible by a DNA test; the child was created from the DNA of three people. The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has confirmed this.
Although most of the baby’s genetic code, whose sex remains confidential, comes from both parents, 0.1% of the DNA comes from an external donor. But why, then, did a third person have to be involved?
An innovation to combat mitochondrial diseases
This particular technique of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) was designed to prevent the baby from inheriting mitochondrial disease. IVF can occur after the mother is fertilized by the father or beforehand. These incurable diseases can be so life-threatening to newborns that they die within hours of birth.
It is a medical innovation that may allow families with this genetic defect to have healthy child. According to the Mitochondrial Disease Research Center, these “represent a set of inherited deficiencies in oxidative phosphorylation responsible for a lack of oxygen consumption and energy production.”
A strictly regulated practice
Since mitochondria are a kind of small “factories” that produce energy through a production chain and enable cellular respiration, if they are defective, they can no longer supply the body with energy, which can lead to brain damage or heart failure, among other things.
Sarah Narcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust, testifies, “The announcement that a few babies have been born with mitochondrial donation in the UK is the next step in what is likely to remain a slow and careful process of evaluating and improving mitochondrial donation.”
She sought to reassure critics of this medical innovation who see it as a particular form of eugenics, as if “designer babies” are to be created. Further research must be done in the long term to ensure that mitochondrial diseases do not occur during the child’s life.
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