Medical scientists have developed a controversial IVF technique that could cure deadly genetic diseases.
This is incredible and scary at the same time! Doctors in the reproductive medicine department at Newcastle University in the UK have asked an expert panel from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority to review a new fertility treatment that could prevent the some genetic diseases.
The technique would involve not two, but technically THREE biological parents.
Around one in 6,500 children are born with serious diseases caused by faulty mitochondrial DNA, including liver and heart failure and neurological disorders. This new in-vitro treatment would use a “second mother” in order to cancel out the mitochondrial DNA that would lead to these genetic diseases.
This “bad” mitochondrial DNA is passed on exclusively by the mother and located in every human cell. Mitochondria act as the “power houses” and provide energy for each cell. Mitochondrial DNA is not located in the nucleus of fertilized eggs, so doctors have decided to test this new technique to see if they could prevent genetic disorders completely.
First, scientists would take the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm to create an embryo. Then they would remove the nucleus containing the parent’s DNA and transfer it to a donor embryo — whose nucleus has already been disposed off. The donor embryo — which acts as a kind of surrogate carrier –contains healthy mitochondria.
The baby will have 98 percent of the DNA from its parents and 2 percent DNA from the donor woman.
“We are not ready to do this in patients now, but the science is progressing very rapidly and we need to get Parliament to discuss this again now,” Alison Murdoch, head of the department of reproductive medicine at Newcastle University tells the Daily Mail. “We anticipate that the process of review could take about a year so we are asking for this process to start now.”
Although this kind of genetic engineering is VERY risky, it could help end the death rate of babies with genetic diseases, as in the case of Sharon and Neil Bernardi‘s seven kids. The English couple lost six of their babies and recently lost their 21-year-old son Edward to Leigh’s Disease, caused by a mitochondrial defect.
So HollyMoms, do you agree with this kind of science?
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