A healthy baby girl was born to an infertile Ukranian couple using DNA from three people, after years of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization.

The same technique has been used for mothers who are known to have “unhealthy” mitochondrial DNA- where the mitochondrial DNA of a third parent is used.

A Ukranian couple have just given birth to a healthy baby girl, who shares the DNA of three parents.  She was born on January 5th in Ukraine.

How is this Possible?

DNA in humans is mostly stored in cell nuclei. However, a subsection of genetic information, known as mitochondrial DNA, is stored in the mitochondria, an organelle known for mediating energy in a cell.

This subsection of DNA is maternally inherited. “Unhealthy” mitochondrial DNA could lead to having children with genetic disorders, and has led couples with a history of those illnesses to refer to female egg donors with healthy mitochondrial DNA, to be a third biological parent for their child.

This is the first case where this was done due to infertility. The procedure is known as “mitochondrial donation.” The two most common techniques for this is “maternal spindle transfer” or, what was used in this case, “pronuclear transfer.”

The Procedure

After years of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization attempts, a team at the Nadiya clinic in Kiev, Ukraine were able to help the couple get pregnant using this method.

They were able to fertilize the mother’s egg with the father’s sperm, and then transfer the pronucleus, where all the genetic information is stored, into a nucleus-free egg from the donor.

The sperm of the same man is also used to fertilize the egg from the donor as well. The embryo is then implanted back into the mother’s womb.

After a healthy pregnancy, the three-parented baby was born. The team leader, Valery Zukin, has stated that the baby is healthy, and successfully carries DNA from all three parents.