Fertility doctors in Greece and Spain said they produced a baby from three people because the mother was infertile, a case in which the doctor said they were “making medical history,” that could couples around the world have children.
The baby boy weighing 2.9 kilos (6.39 pounds) in Greece, but it wasn’t said where as the BBC reported on the case in which the mother and child were said to be in good health.
But some experts in the United Kingdom said the procedure raises ethical questions and should not have taken place. The experimental form of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) uses an egg from the mother, sperm from the father, and another egg from a donor woman.
The patient was a 32-year-old woman in Greece who had endured four unsuccessful cycles of IVF.
The method was developed to help families affected by deadly mitochondrial diseases which are passed down from mother to baby and had been tried before only one other time, for a family in Jordan, that also set off ethical debate.
The Greek couple’s son has a tiny amount of the father’s genetic makeup from the donor woman as mitochondria have their own DNA.
Dr Panagiotis Psathas, President of the Institute of Life in Athens, said: “A woman’s inalienable right to become a mother with her own genetic material became a reality.
“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,” the BBC said.
Some fertility doctors said the technology could increase the odds of IVF too, the report added, with mitochondria – tiny compartments inside nearly every cell of the body that convert food into useable energy – the nucleus of the debate as well.
They are defective in mitochondrial diseases so combining the mother’s DNA with a donor’s mitochondria could prevent disease. But there is also speculation mitochondria may have a role in a successful pregnancy too. That claim has not been tested.
The Greek team worked with the Spanish center Embryotools, which said another 24 women are also taking part in the trial and that eight more embryos are ready to be implanted soon.
In February 2018, the doctors in Newcastle who pioneered the technology were given permission to create the UK’s first three-person babies and there were two attempts, both in families with rare mitochondrial diseases.
Some doctors in the UK argued the two applications – fertility and disease prevention – are morally very different, the report added.
Tim Child, from the University of Oxford and the medical director of The Fertility Partnership, said: “I’m concerned that there’s no proven need for the patient to have her genetic material removed from her eggs and transferred into the eggs of a donor.
“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,” he added.