Mitochondrial Replacement Leads to Healthy Baby

Controversial procedure produces positive results


After four miscarriages and losing two children to a mitochondrial disease called Leigh syndrome, a Jordanian couple underwent a controversial procedure to successfully give birth to a healthy baby boy.

The procedure creates a viable egg by replacing nuclei DNA in a donor egg with nuclei DNA from the mother. The child was born with traits from the mother and father, though the mitochondria contained DNA from the donor, giving the child a healthy life. Peter Braude from King’s College London likens it to bone marrow transplants—healthy genetic material replaces DNA that isn’t working.

Controversial due to the fact that genetic material comes from two parents and a donor, critics call it the “three-parent baby” procedure. Gillian Lockwood, a reproductive ethicist, told the BBC, “In fact it is 2.001-parent IVF [in vitro fertilization]… it simply allows the batteries to work properly.”

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