First ‘Three-Parent’ Baby Born in the UK

In a groundbreaking development, the United Kingdom has witnessed the birth of the first baby with the DNA of three people. This medical milestone was achieved through a pioneering form of in vitro fertilization (IVF), commonly referred to as “test tube babies.” The news was confirmed by Britain’s fertility regulator, following a freedom-of-information request, according to The Guardian newspaper.

While specific details such as the birth date and the current health status of the child remain undisclosed due to medical confidentiality, this significant achievement marks a major advancement in reproductive medicine. The procedure responsible for this scientific breakthrough is known as mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT). It involves combining tissues from the eggs of a female donor with the aim of creating IVF embryos free from hereditary illnesses that could be passed on to a child during a conventional pregnancy.

During MDT, these modified embryos, containing genetic material from the parents and the female donor, are then combined with sperm and eggs from the biological parents. As a result, the baby is born with DNA signatures from three individuals—the parents and the female donor. However, it is important to note that the biological parents contribute over 99.8% of the baby’s DNA, determining essential characteristics such as personality, eye color, and hair color. The donor’s genetic contribution consists of approximately 37 genes.

Peter Thompson, a representative of the UK fertility regulator Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), expressed the significance of MDT in providing hope to families affected by severe inherited mitochondrial illnesses. Thompson stated, “MDT offers families with severe inherited mitochondrial illness the possibility of a healthy child.” He also mentioned that it is still early in the development of MDT, and the HFEA continues to monitor clinical and scientific advancements in the field.

According to The Guardian report, the HFEA confirmed that fewer than five babies have been born using this revolutionary procedure so far. The first documented birth resulting from MDT occurred in the United States in 2016.

The approval of MDT in the UK was a landmark decision, as it became the first country to authorize the use of this technique in 2015 following a vote in the House of Commons. The decision came after a heated ethical debate led by politicians and religious groups concerning the ethical implications of “designer babies” and the involvement of “three parents” in the process. The first authorized cases of MDT in the UK took place in 2018.

Addressing concerns raised during the approval process, then-Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized that the aim was not to “play god” but to ensure that couples desiring a healthy baby could have the opportunity to do so.

The birth of the first “three-parent” baby in the UK represents a major step forward in the field of reproductive medicine. As the medical community continues to make progress in this area, further research and ethical considerations will shape the future of assisted reproductive technologies, ultimately providing hope for families grappling with hereditary illnesses.

Source – Online

Embryologist Ric Ross pulls out vials of human embryos from a liquid Nitrogen storage container at the La Jolla IVF Clinic February 28, 2007 in La Jolla, California © Getty Images / Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

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