Three-person IVF used for a baby born in Greece

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) has become a common phenomenon in recent times, giving a ray of hope to those facing problems with infertility. The process isn’t new, but is technologically advanced, involving a complex series of steps. The first treatment was conducted in the year 1977, the success of which cemented the fact infertility could be treated.

Three-person IVF used for a baby born in Greece

There have been thousands of successful treatments since then, acting as a miracle for those unable to conceive.

About the general IVF process

In Vitro Fertilization is not to be mistaken for artificial insemination, wherein the sperm is placed in the uterus for normal conception. It is a procedure that is undertaken inside a laboratory, outside the body. This procedure involves the fusion of the sperm and egg, and when the embryo is formed, it is then placed inside the uterus. In general, an IVF procedure takes about 6 to 8 weeks, from the consultation visits to the transfer of the embryo. An IVF procedure is opted for by people under the following problems related to infertility:

  • Blockage or damage in the fallopian tube
  • Low sperm count
  • Infrequent or absent ovulation
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Genetic disorder
  • Fertility preservation for health conditions
  • Tubal ligation
  • Unexplained fertility

While IVF is effective and a solution to women who struggle to conceive, there are some risks associated with the procedure, such as multiple rebirths, ovarian cancer, miscarriage, premature delivery, and ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. However, the treatment has shown a high success rate in different parts of the country over the years, with nearly 2, 00,000 babies born via IVF.

The three-person IVF: Real-world application

There is another specific kind of IVF that has become a popular and questionable treatment for patients across the world. Also known as a mitochondrial replacement, this treatment requires three people: two women and one man, with one of the women suffering from a rare mitochondrial disorder, who is unable to conceive. In this procedure, the nucleus of the affected woman’s egg is transferred to another woman’s embryo, in which the nucleus is removed, leaving it with the mitochondria. In this way, the to-be-born child inherits the nucleus DNA from the intended mother and father, with the mitochondria inherited from the woman providing the egg.

Due to this involvement of three people the babies born are also referred to as three-parent babies, having genetic relations with three parents. Though this treatment is not accepted everywhere, it has been tried out in a few parts of the world, such as the UK, with countries like Singapore and Australia thinking to permit the treatment.

Case study- the Greek success

The IVF technique was performed in Greece, on a 32-year old woman. She had four continuous IVF failures, as a result of the mitochondrial disease, after which she approached doctors for the treatment. A special team of Greek and Spanish doctors conducted the treatment, using the DNA from the patient, the sperm from the father, and the egg from a woman donor. After the treatment, the woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy, weighing 2.9 kgs, in the month of April, and both the mother and the child are reported to be healthy.

With the medical arena undergoing significant technological advancements, IVF is one treatment which is a phenomenon in the present times. It has acted as a magic wand to childless couples, giving them the joy of parenthood. Whether the three-person is ethical or not is a debatable subject, but its successful application is blurring the lines with each passing day.  

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Article Author Details

Chandan Singh

Chandan Singh is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degree in Supply Chain & Operations Management and Marketing and boasts a wide-ranging background in digital media.