Greek and Spanish fertility doctors say a baby was born with DNA from three people in Greece. The child was conceived using genetic material from two women and a man.
The controversial technique was used to overcome the mother’s infertility. The 32-year-old Greek mother had tried IVF treatments four times without any success.
Not approved in Spain
The procedure had to be done in Greece as it is not approved in Spain. However, it proved a success as both the baby and the mother are reported to be in good health.
The experimental IVF treatment is called mitochondrial donation. It consists of using an egg from the mother, sperm from the father and another egg from a female donor.
UK experts have now criticized the treatment saying it involved unjustifiable risks. Tim Child, an associate professor at the University of Oxford and the medical director of the Fertility Partnership, told The Guardian: “The risks of the technique aren’t entirely known, though may be considered acceptable if being used to treat mitochondrial disease, but not in this situation.
“The patient may have conceived even if a further standard IVF cycle had been used. Without a proper well designed study, with the use of controls, it is not possible to say whether this technique has benefitted the patient.”
However, the trial’s lead and co-founder of Embryotools Dr Nuno Costa-Borges stands by the treatment telling Stat News last January that 99 percent of the baby’s genes come from its mother and father, and just one percent from the egg donor.
“For some patients, it’s very hard to accept that they cannot get pregnant with their own [eggs],” he said.
“Spindle transfer may represent a new era in the IVF field, as it could give these patients chances of having a child genetically related to them.”
A woman's inalienable right
The president of the Institute of Life, Dr Panagiotis Psathas, also defended the treatment, telling The Independent: “Today, for the first time in the world, a woman’s inalienable right to become a mother with her own genetic material became a reality."
“As Greek scientists, we are very proud to announce an international innovation in assisted reproduction, and we are now in a position to make it possible for women with multiple IVF failures or rare mitochondrial genetic diseases to have a healthy child," Psathas added.
Three person IVFs have been used before in Jordan, Mexico and Ukraine and have all been met with controversy.