The world’s first baby born using a controversial new technique by US scientists to include DNA from three parents in the embryo has been revealed…
The baby and the doctor
According to New Scientist, a five-month-old boy has become the first baby to be born to the family of Ibtisam Shaban and Mahmoud Hassan, from Jordan, who had been trying to start a family for almost 20 years, using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people,
It was learnt that the child was born with the method which incorporates DNA from three parents, is only legally approved in the UK. But US scientists have spoken of how they travelled to Mexico to escape regulation, resulting in the birth of five-month-old Abrahim Hassan.
The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, is only legal in the country, and this followed fierce parliamentary debate.
The boy’s mother had carried genes for a disorder known as Leigh Syndrome, a fatal nervous system disorder which she had passed on to her two previous children who both died of the disease. She had also suffered four miscarriages as a result.
The woman whose identity was withheld by New Scientist, and her husband sought the help of John Zhang, a doctor from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City to have a baby that would be genetically related to them but would not carry the inherited disease.
The United States has not approved any three-parent method for fertility purposes, so Zhang went to Mexico where he was quoted as saying “there are no rules.”
One method that has been approved in the United Kingdom, called pronuclear transfer, was deemed unacceptable to the couple because it would involve the destruction of two embryos, said the report.
Since the mother carried the genes for the disease in her mitochondria, or DNA that is passed down from the maternal side, Zhang used her nuclear DNA and combined it with mitochondria from an egg donor, in a technique known as spindle nuclear transfer.
“He removed the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs and inserted it into a donor egg that had had its own nucleus removed,” said the report.
“The resulting egg with nuclear DNA from the mother and mitochondrial DNA from a donor was then fertilized with the father’s sperm.”