It’s a ground-breaking decision that has sparked a heated debate. Britain has approved a controversial treatment known as 3 Parent IVF.
For families like the Kittos, raising a child with mitochondrial disease is heartbreaking.
“Her speech is really challenged, for someone who is four and her overall quality of life isn’t that of a normal 4-year-old.”
Poppy’s extremely rare disease can cause deadly heart problems, brain disorders and muscular dystrophy. Her parents, James and Kathryn, worry she could one day pass the “genetic” disease onto her children.
3-person, DNA procedure might come to U.S.
Stopping that from happening began when British lawmakers voted to allow creating babies using DNA from three people.
The procedure, called 3 Parent IVF, takes a small amount of healthy DNA from a female donor and replaces the mitochondrial DNA in the mother, to make embryos.
We talked with IVF expert, Dr. Anthony Imudia with the University of South Florida at Tampa General Hospital.
“I think it’s a good idea but we have to be cautious of its application. If we use it for what it’s intended for, which is treating patients with debilitating disease that is inherited from the mother, I think it’s something that definitely should be used.”
We asked him if he thought it would be approved in the United States.
“Right now I’d say the likelihood is slim, but the good thing is the U.K. is really trying to approve this. If it finally gets approved in the U.K., I think it’s going to get back to the U.S. again because what’s going to happen is they’re a little bit more liberal in testing new technologies and we’ll learn a lot from the process in their country.”
Imudia says this technology was banned in the United States in 2001 because of ethical and safety concerns.
“People were concerned that if you approve this technology, people are going to apply this to other things and then you have this concept of ‘designer babies.’ Picking and choosing what you want in an embryo.”
But for families like the Kittos, keeping another child from having this incurable disease is worth it.
“I think a change in the law to allow this procedure to take place will definitely give our two girls an important option in the future and hope that we can stop the mitochondrial disease from spreading.”
Now you might be wondering, since it’s called 3-parent IVF, if the baby actually has 3 parents. We asked Imudia. He explained it like this: the baby ultimately belongs to the intended parents. 99.9 percent of the genetic material is that of the original parents. It’s just the one strand of diseased DNA that is replaced.
Source: WTSP NEWS
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