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The IVF Fertility Blog

World’s 2nd 3-Parent Baby: What you NEED to know and what’s the difference?

If you are unfamiliar with what a 3-Parent Baby is, then stop reading this and first watch this video on NUCLEAR TRANSFER:  3-Parent Technology below.

The video shows the technology we used and the various types of nuclear transfer that exist.  Our colleague, Dr. Valerie Zukin, with whom we shared this technology has really done a magnificent job at creating the world’s 2nd 3-Parent Baby, but his technique is different.  So How is it different?  What does this birth mean?  And what do you really need to know?

  1. Ukraine used PRO-NUCLEAR TRANSFER.  New Hope Fertility Center used SPINDLE NUCLEAR TRANSFER. 
    1. Spindle transfers take place BEFORE fertilization and was voted ethically sound by the FDA in 2015.
    2. Pronuclear transfers take place AFTER fertilization, which means you are destroying two embryos by removing their nuclei to create one new one. Many religious groups and some secular groups challenge the ethics of Pronuclear transfer because the cell already has all the components needed for life. 
  2. Ukraine, Newcastle, and all other groups in the world use a VIRUS! New Hope Fertility Center provides a cleaner, greener, and better option.
    1. It’s True! Pronuclear transfer uses an older technological procedure that involves using a virus to stimulate cell fusion, the actual moment of the 3 DNA’s integrating into the embryo.  Don’t worry, not all viruses are bad.  In this case, the viral protein encourages the mother’s nucleus to enter the donor embryo.  But a virus is still a virus, and it may be PERMANENTLY CODED into that child’s body.  They may pass it on to future generations.  And it may develop harmful side effects.  We just won’t know until that child grows up.
    2. Spindle Nuclear Transfer uses ADVANCED CLEAN TECHNOLOGY in the form of Electrical Stimulation. Because of the difficulty and timing of this application, New Hope Fertility is the only group in the world proven to have accomplished this successfully.  Electro-fusion has NO known side effects that last.  It is like comparing an electric car to a diesel truck. 
  3. Girls vs Boys
    1. We know that Mito-Disease is a maternally transmitted condition. In other words, only women pass the genes on.  New Hope carefully prepared to ensure that the live birth baby was a boy who could not pass on any of his mitochondria to future generations.  Because we cannot COMPLETELY replace the mitochondria, around 5% carryover may exist.  With Spindle Transfers, this is insignificant and by producing a male, we don’t have to worry about future generations
    2. The Ukraine baby is a girl. IF she had bad mitochondria, she would be a carrier.  Thus her kids would be at risk AND carries of a viral mutation.  HOWEVER, lets note that this couple had merely unexplainable infertility, not a disease, and so we don’t have to worry as much about DNA crossover and carriage.
    1. New Hope’s patient had Leigh Syndrome. She NEEDED this treatment to produce a healthy baby that would survive.
    2. The Ukraine couple had unexplained infertility and was only 34 years old. Statistically, continually repeating IVF and maybe trying minimal stimulation like Mini IVF would have helped her out.  Sure, this may have saved time and money and made her baby slightly famous, but the UK, who first approved this technique in January 2017 for mainstream use, only permits it for MEDICAL NECESSITY.
  5. A lifetime of Research is needed to see the results.
    1. In the end, it’s true. To fully understand and research the results of either of these techniques the following needs to happen:
      1. Successful Procedure
      2. Successful live heathy birth
  • That baby needs to grow up and be studied for long term effects
  1. That baby needs to have kids of his own and those kids need to be studied to see how the genes are carried on.
  1. We simply don’t have enough research to know the long term effects. But let’s face it, we can’t KNOW the long-term effects without first DOING the procedure.  Are we cowboys?  Nature magazine called Dr.  John Zhang a “Fertility Rebel”.  You decide.

Our conclusion?  We extend huge congratulations to Dr. Zukin and his team for proving that 3-parent techniques are a viable option for creating a live birth baby.  We have started another IRB study to continue understanding the effects and encourage UK and Ukraine to do the same.  Time will tell how we all did!



Topics: 3 parent IVF

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