First Time in UK: A Baby Born With DNA from 3 People

In the United Kingdom, a groundbreaking IVF technique used the DNA of three people to make the first baby. The baby was made through a process called mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT).

In this process, the DNA from one of the mother’s eggs is taken from the egg’s nucleus and put into a donated egg. The nucleus of the donated egg is taken out, but its healthy mitochondrial DNA is kept.

In this process, IVF embryos are made that don’t have any harmful mutations that their moms have and are likely to pass on to their children. Mitochondrial DNA has power for the cell, while normal DNA has information about our genes that helps make us normal people. Researchers have said that the mitochondrial DNA is a lot like a battery.

Scientists say that the term “three-parent baby” is not true because more than 98.8% of the child’s DNA still comes from two people.

In 2015, the UK parliament gave the process the go-ahead, and requests to use it were looked at by a group called the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

A Freedom of Information request to the HFEA turned up the first “three-parent child” in Britain. According to sources, the clinic said that MDT hasn’t been used to deliver many babies in the UK.

Doctors don’t talk about the specifics of the babies made with the MDT program because they are worried that specific information could risk the privacy of the patient.

As of April 20, 2023, “less than five” kids had been born using the technology, according to the HFEA. But HFEA wouldn’t give exact numbers because they wanted to protect the privacy of the families. The information was written up by The Guardian.

“The fact that a few babies have been born in the UK with donated mitochondria is the next step in what is likely to be a slow and careful process of evaluating and improving mitochondrial donation,” said Sarah Norcross, head of the Progress Educational Trust.

Prof. Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Research Institute said, “It will be interesting to see how well the technique of mitochondrial replacement therapy worked in practice, if the babies are free of mitochondrial disease, and if there is any chance that they will have problems later in life.”

Children have been born through MDT in places other than Britain. In 2016, the same steps were used to make a kid in Mexico.

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