A baby with DNA from three people has been born in Greece following a controversial fertility treatment.
The baby boy, weighing 2.9kg (6lb) was born. Both he and his mother, who is 32, are said to be in good health. The doctors behind the treatment, from Greece and Spain, said that the birth marks a historic advance – it is the first time an IVF technique involving DNA from three people has been used with the aim of addressing fertility problems. But UK experts criticised the decision to proceed with the treatment, which they said was not backed by evidence and involved unjustifiable risks.
The experimental IVF treatment, known as mitochondrial donation, involves using an egg from the mother, sperm from the father and another egg from a female donor. The vast majority of a person’s genes – about 99.8% – are found on the 23 pairs of chromosomes that sit inside the nucleus in each cell in the body, and in the IVF procedure this DNA comes from the two parents. However, a tiny proportion of genetic material also resides in a cell’s mitochondria, small structures that act as the cell’s batteries and float around freely in the cell body. In mitochondrial donation, the mother’s mitochondria are removed from her egg and replaced by a donor’s.