A baby has been born using three people’s DNA for the first time in the UK, the fertility regulator has confirmed.
Most of their DNA comes from their two parents and around 0.1% from a third, donor woman.
The pioneering technique is an attempt to prevent children being born with devastating mitochondrial diseases.
Fewer than five such babies have been born, but no further details have been released.
Mitochondrial diseases are incurable and can be fatal within days or even hours of birth. Some families have lost multiple children and this technique is seen as the only option for them to have a healthy child of their own.
Mitochondria are the tiny compartments inside nearly every cell of the body that convert food into useable energy.
Defective mitochondria fail to fuel the body and lead to brain damage, muscle wasting, heart failure and blindness.
- UK’s first ‘three-person babies’ approved
They are passed down only by the mother. So mitochondrial donation treatment is a modified form of IVF that uses mitochondria from a healthy donor egg.
There are two techniques for performing mitochondrial donation. One takes places after the mother’s egg has been fertilised by the father’s sperm and the other takes place before fertilisation.