Friday, 6 March 2015

3-Parent In Vitro Fertilization: FAQ

WebMD Health News

March 5, 2015 -- Babies created from the DNA of two women and a man could be born as early as next year. Last month, the United Kingdom cleared the way for fertility clinics there to start making babies using three-parent in vitro fertilization (IVF) beginning in October.

The landmark decision has sparked hot debate. Some say it will help save babies' lives. Others believe it's an ethical dilemma that opens the door for "made-to-order" kids.

Here, two experts answer some commonly asked questions.

What Is 3-Parent IVF?

It's a fertility treatment that creates an embryo using the genetic (DNA) material from three people: the parents and an egg donor.

During normal conception, a fertilized egg has a mix of nuclear DNA from both parents. That DNA contains all of a person’s genes. The egg has the exact copy of mitochondrial DNA from the mom. This DNA powers every cell in the body and helps them divide and grow.

If the mom's mitochondrial DNA is defective, it can cause severe or deadly disease in the baby.

But what if you could remove the mom's faulty mitochondria and replace it with a healthy kind? That's exactly what three-parent IVF does. It's also called mitochondria donation. There are several techniques available, but in general, the nuclear DNA from the mom's egg is changed with healthy mitochondrial DNA from an egg donor.

"It is like a tiny transplant," says Arthur Caplan, PhD, founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. He finds the term "three-parent IVF" misleading. "It is more like two and .00001 percent parenting. The amount of mitochondria transferred is trivial. It doesn't give that person any parenting claim."

source : 3-Parent In Vitro Fertilization: FAQ

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