The World’s First ‘Three-Parent’ Baby Was Born with DNA from Three People

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in vitro fertilization

For the first time ever, a baby has been born carrying genetic material from three parents. The so-called “three-parent baby” was born as a result of an experimental technique that scientists say will allow parents with genetic mutations to have healthy babies that still share their DNA.

According to The Telegraph, the three-parent technique is achieved by a technique called spindle nuclear transfer, and it is not actually legal in the U.S. It is legal in the U.K., though.

The parents of this baby are reportedly from Jordan, and the mother carries a rare genetic disease called Leigh syndrome, which caused the deaths of the couple’s first two children. Their first child died at six years old, and the second died at eight months.

Because the genes for the disease were in the mother’s mitochondria, a doctor from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York removed the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs and transferred it to a donor egg whose nucleus had been removed. The resulting egg had mitochondrial DNA from the donor and nuclear DNA from the mother. It was fertilized with sperm from the mother’s husband.

The embryo was put in the mother, and nine months later the world’s first baby was born with DNA from three different parents. According to The Telegraph, the baby boy is now five months old and is reportedly healthy.

It’s not currently legal to do this procedure in the US, so the doctors from New York went to Mexico instead. According to The Telegraph lead doctor John Zhang said they went to Mexico because there were no rules to stop them there, but said this was the right decision because “to save lives is the ethical thing to do.” 

This is, of course, not without controversy, especially since the doctors had to go to Mexico to escape regulations preventing them from doing what they just did, but some scientists are heralding the news as a great success. The baby will of course have to be monitored closely to make sure it is healthy and continues to be healthy.

“The baby is reportedly healthy. Hopefully, this will tame the more zealous critics, accelerate the field, and we will witness soon a birth of the first mitochondrial donation baby in the UK,” said stem cell expert Dr. Dusko Ilic from King’s College, London, who described the birth as great news and “revolutionary.”