Friday, June 9, 2023

First baby born in the UK using mitochondrial donation therapy

At least one baby has been born in the UK following mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT), the Health and Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has confirmed.

Few details are known but the Newcastle team pioneering the technique say they have submitted their data to a peer reviewed journal and hope to publish shortly.

MDT offers families with severe inherited mitochondrial illness the possibility of a healthy child. It is a form of IVF that replaces faulty mitochondrial DNA in the patient’s eggs with healthy mitochondrial DNA from a donor egg. Although the phrase “three parent babies” is widely used in the media, most of the baby’s DNA comes from their two parents, with around 0.1% from the donor.

Mitochondrial disease affects around one in 6000 babies. It is not a single disorder but an umbrella term for dozens of disorders in which the mitochondria are not able to produce energy for cells to work properly. These include Alpers disease, Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, and Leigh syndrome. These conditions vary in severity, are often life limiting, and currently have no cure.

One licensed UK clinic

In 2015 the UK became the first country in the world to allow MDT within a regulatory environment.1 Two years later the Newcastle Fertility Centre became the first and only …

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