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18th Jan 2017

Baby Girl Born In Ukraine Using New ‘Three-Person’ IVF Technique

Alison Bough

A baby girl has been born in Ukraine using a new three-person IVF method called ‘pronuclear transfer’. The infant, who was born on the 5th of January, is thought to only be the world’s second baby to have three genetic parents.

The world’s first baby was born in April last year as a result of the experimental IVF method. The child’s Jordanian parents traveled to Mexico where they were treated by an American team from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York. It is believed that the procedure was carried out in Mexico due to its close proximity to the United States, and because it is a country where no regulatory framework has yet been put in place to prohibit the controversial new technique.

The initial objective of three-person IVF was to create a child free of mitochondrial disease in cases where parents presented a risk of transmission. Mitochondria contain DNA, and it is through this DNA that the genetic transmission of disease occurs. The human embryo was therefore created from the DNA of three people: that of its biological father (using the spermatozoon), that of its biological mother (using the nucleus of the ovule) and the mitochondria of another woman, an egg donor. The donor’s ovum was ‘enucleated’ (its nucleus was removed) and the nucleus of the biological mother was inserted in its place.

Three-person IVF was legalised in the UK in 2015, but so far no other countries have moved to enact similar laws.

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