Born in Greece a child with three biological parents. The baby, healthy and weighing 3 kilos, has indeed come into the world thanks to fertilization in vitro carried out using the eggs of two different women (the mother and a donor) and the semen of the father. The method, very controversial and applied for the first time in Europe after a case in Mexico, was developed primarily to avoid the transmission of mitochondrial diseases. But it can also improve the success rates of medically assisted procreation, as the same pathologies are hypothesized to make pregnancy difficult.
“The a woman’s inalienable right to become a mother with its own genetic material it has become reality. We are very proud to announce ainternational innovation in assisted reproduction, and we are now in a position to make it possible for women with multiple IVF failures or rare genetic mitochondrial diseases to have a healthy baby, ”comments Panagiotis Psathas, president of the Institute of Life in Athens.
The Greek team worked in collaboration with the Spanish center Embryotools, who announced that another 24 women are participating in the trial and another 8 embryos are ready to be implanted. The new mother is a 32-year-old Greek woman who has been operated on several times for endometriosis and who had undergone four unsuccessful cycles of in vitro fertilization. His son now has one small part of its genetic makeup belonging to the donor, while the mitochondria have the DNA of the parents.
“It is one of the systems that today allow you to bypass mitochondrionpathies, now within the reach of all the workshops they do in vitro fertilization treatments. It is not a complicated technique and appears to pose no safety problems once the pregnancy has begun. But it generates a profound bioethical debate, which may never end, because it is necessary to understand at what level people and today’s society are ready to accept that a child can have three parents “, comments the geneticist and scientific director of the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome Bruno Dallapiccola, member of the Superior Health Council.
The technique is based on the transfer of the nuclear genome from the oocyte of a woman with pathologies into the oocyte of a healthy donor, which has its own nuclear genome removed. This system is generally intended to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial DNA diseases from mother to child, but are now also used for the treatment of infertility caused by defects associated with the cytoplasm in oocytes.
“In fact, if we normally resort to donation of gametes, in this case oocytes, but the woman who carries on the pregnancy will not be the biological mother of the child, with this technique instead – explains Dallapiccola – the genetic relationship is guaranteed. With the level of possibility of manipulation of the gametes that we have available today, the difficulty is not technical, however, but strongly ethical, and with different facets that can hardly be resolved “.