A baby with DNA from 3 parents was just born to an infertile couple
A previously infertile couple in Ukraine has welcomed a new baby girl into the world — and she's a medical marvel.
According to the BBC, doctors in Kiev used a method called "pronuclear transfer" to create a child with genetic material from three parents, taking the mother and father's DNA and combining them with a donor's egg.
Though the resulting child isn't the first to be born with DNA from three parents, she is the first to have been conceived using this pronuclear transfer in vitro fertilization process. The BBC reports that a three-parent child in Mexico was born in 2016 using a different method, while in 2014, the outlet wrote that between 30 and 50 people in the world have some percentage of DNA from a third person.
Children with genetic material from three parents will likely become less of an anomaly if countries continue to legalize in vitro fertilization techniques that use the DNA from three people to create an embryo.
In 2015, British legislators voted in favor of a law allowing for such techniques, making Britain the "first country in the world to allow embryos to be genetically modified," the Associated Press reported at the time.
While genetic modification processes are always met with some controversy, lawmakers intended the 2015 legislation to prevent potentially fatal genetic conditions from being passed down from parents to children.
It may sound like an invariably good thing, but some opponents worry that this kind of genetic intervention will lead to parents genetically modifying their children for more sinister, or at least superficial, ends, resulting in a "designer baby" of sorts.
Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, told the BBC they're approaching developments in the pronuclear transfer process with necessary caution.
"Pronuclear transfer is highly experimental and has not been properly evaluated or scientifically proven," he said. "We would be extremely cautious about adopting this approach to improve IVF outcomes."
But when speaking about 2015's historic vote, British Prime Minister David Cameron said it was worth exploring the benefits of the procedure.
"I think it has be thoroughly researched and tested and as someone who had a severely disabled child myself, I know what parents go through when they are concerned about these issues," former British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC when speaking about 2015's historic vote.
"So science can help in this way, all the arguments are in favor, we should make sure these treatments are available."