Doctors have announced the first successful birth of a baby with DNA from three people. The baby girl was born to an infertile couple, with the assistance of an egg donor, on January 5th in Ukraine.
This procedure, known as mitochondrial donation, has been used previously as an alternative for mothers whose mitochondrial DNA is unhealthy and thus would otherwise be likely to produce babies with genetic disorders. However, this is the first time the procedure has been used to treat infertility, and was given a new name—pronuclear transfer—as a result.
The process began when a doctor fertilized the mother’s egg with her partner’s sperm. The doctor then transferred those combined genes, called a pronucleus, into an egg from a donor. This egg was then implanted into the mother’s womb, where it developed for a typical nine months. When the baby was born, it carried the DNA from all three of the participating adults.
With the rapid advancements in science that have come about over the past decade, the entire process of conception has changed vastly. The days of “when a mommy and daddy love each other very much…” are quickly disappearing, as signs an evolving reproductive process continue to emerge.
Those who have genetic or fertility problems rely on assisted reproductive technology in order to start a family. Years ago, when this technology did not exist, the only option for parents with fertility problems was adoption. And although adoption is still a prevalent alternative today, parents now have the ability to try to conceive their own baby.
With the future of science advancing more and more rapidly, it seems as though reproduction will continue to evolve as well.
Photo: Instituto Bernabeu, CC-BY
Elizabeth Chambers is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.