Fertility Methods: Healthy Baby Born Using Controversial 'Three-Parent' Technique

By Jiran , Sep 28, 2016 03:38 AM EDT

Doctors have recently disclosed about the baby born using the three-parent technique. The healthy five-month-old boy has DNA from three people. However, some critics say that the controversial method is unethical and irresponsible.

The Healthy Baby

According to BBC, the baby is the first ever to have been born using the three-parent fertility technique. He has the DNA of both his parents and the third one from a donor. The doctors revealed that his mother is suffering from Leigh syndrome.

A few mutations in this severe neurological disorder occur in mitochondrial DNA. They explained that this could be fatal for any baby conceived.

They wanted to ensure that the baby would be free of that genetic condition. The said technique could be helpful to those with the same condition. However, rigorous checks are still needed.

According to NBC News, the experimental treatment is prohibited in the US. The doctors decided to conduct it in Mexico. Apparently, the country does not have any law that prohibits it.

Dr. John Zhang and his colleagues took all the vital DNA from the mother's egg. It will be mixed with the healthy mitochondria from the donor's egg. This will create a healthy new egg. Eventually, it will be fertilized with the father's sperm.

0.1 percent of the baby's DNA was from the donor's mitochondrial DNA. The rest of his genetic code is from her parents. Zhang mentioned that they initially planned to make five embryos. However, only one of them developed normally.

Critics Say It's Unethical And Irresponsible

The said method has raised ethical questions. The concern is more focused on the child. What would the child feel of having DNA from three people? It will certainly have an effect on his growth.

Human Genetics Alert's Dr. David King has been blunt. He said that what they did is outrageous. The doctors should not have ignored the cautious approach of U.S. regulators. That move implies that they think they know better.

He also pointed out the failure in a balanced medical ethics approach. King questioned their simplistic "to save lives is the ethical thing to do". He said that no lives were being saved.

Other critics say that it is irresponsible.

The Future Of the Three-Person Technique

Prof Alison Murdoch said that the three-person technique should be achieved with caution. She added that this will ensure both safety and reproducibility. BBC News reports that Murdoch is at the forefront of three-person IVF work in the UK.

The UK has a law that allows the said technique.

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