Doctors in Athens and Barcelona announced last Tuesday the delivery of a “three-parent baby” as part of a research project on in vitro fertilization (IVF) with mitochondrial donation. The baby, weighing 2.9 kg, was born in Athens, to a 32-year-old Greek mother who had undergone a course of medically assisted reproduction (MAR) treatment in Barcelona. She had already endured four unsuccessful cycles of IVF. This time round, IVF was performed using a sperm, a donor’s oocyte and an oocyte from the patient (see Woman pregnant with “three-parent” baby in Barcelona).
Although “some British experts believe that the procedure raises ethical questions and should not have taken place”, for Dr Panagiotis Psathas, president of the Institute of Life in Athens, it is an “international innovation in assisted reproduction”. This procedure will enable “women with multiple IVF failures or rare mitochondrial genetic diseases to have a healthy child”. He believes that “a woman’s inalienable right to become a mother with her own genetic material has become a reality”.
Greek doctors worked jointly with doctors at the Spanish Embryotools centre in Barcelona, which has announced that 24 women are currently participating in the trial, and that eight currently frozen three-parent embryos are awaiting implantation. “This technique is still experimental”, said Dr Gloria Calderón, co-founder and director of Embryotools. “During the validation period, we must be careful and cannot incorporate it overnight into the routine practices of an MAR clinic”.
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