Three-Parent Babies May Happen Within Two Years

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 - 12:58PM
Medical Tech
Genetic Engineering
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 - 12:58PM
Three-Parent Babies May Happen Within Two Years

Scientists are rapidly developing techniques that could lead to the birth of a child with three genetic parents. Known as mitochondrial replacement (or transfer), three-parent in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques were designed to help families with genetic diseases passed on via mitochondrial DNA. The methods are at the research stage in British and American labs, but, barring any huge legal obstacles, this technique could be ready for human use within two years. 

 

The process seems simple - the nuclear DNA of the mother is combined with the mitochondrial DNA of a healthy donor in order to create a healthy egg. There are two different techniques used for creating these three-parent children:

 

Method 1: Pronuclear transfer

 

Credit: BBC

 

Method 2: Maternal spindle transfer 

 

Credit: BBC

 

The panel of Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) concluded that there was no surefire way to asses the safety of this technique in humans without starting trials. British expert panel says the evidence it had seen so far "does not suggest that these techniques are unsafe," but does indicate that they could be "potentially useful for a specific and defined group of patients." A national public consultation showed that Brits broadly favored the idea, and the government has indicated that treatments should commence fairly soon - under strict regulation, of course.

 

Advances are also being made on the male side of IVF, with the creation of MagnetoSperm.

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