Baby Girl Born in Ukraine as a Result of Three-Parent Fertility Treatment
Last year, Britain approved a unique fertility treatment using three ‘parents’ in an attempt to eliminate the spread of deadly diseases through maternal mitochondria.1 The technique uses healthy donor mitochondria to replace any damaged DNA before in vitro combination of the biological parent’s egg and sperm. Another similar three parent therapy, “pronuclear transfer,” has recently proved successful in the Ukraine with the birth of a baby girl on January 5th.2 The treatment is aimed at infertile women whose eggs suffer from embryonic arrest, this means that while the eggs are able to be successfully fertilized they stop growth before implantation into the womb can be completed. Pronuclear transfer involves the fertilization of the mother’s egg with paternal sperm, resulting in a pronucleus which is then implanted in a donor egg. The mitochondrial DNA from the donor evades embryonic arrest, allowing the mother to carry the child to term herself.3 Both therapies are able to help parents have healthy children that were out of reach on their own, but at what cost? The DNA from an outside donor, while small, is still a significant consideration as society redefines reproductive norms.
1. Michelle Roberts, “IVF: First three-parent baby born to infertile couple,” last modified January 18, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38648981
2. Susan Scutti, “Controversial IVF technique produces a baby girl -- and for some, that’s a problem,” last modified January 18, 2017,
3. Peter Dockrill, “World-first in Ukraine as ‘three-parent’ baby born to an infertile couple,” last modified January 19, 2017, http://www.sciencealert.com/world-first-in-ukraine-as-three-parent-baby-born-to-an-infertile-couple