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Birth Following Mitochondrial Transfer Fertility Treatment

A woman in Greece has given birth to a baby following mitochondrial transfer as a treatment for infertility, New Scientist reports.

In this approach, the nucleus from the mother's egg is removed and transferred into a donor egg that lacks a nucleus, but contains mitochondria. The resulting egg is then fertilized using the father's sperm. As the Guardian notes, the approach was first developed for women with mitochondrial diseases who wanted to avoid passing on their condition to their children. The UK Parliament approved the use of the approach in 2015. While the US has not approved the treatment, a baby boy was born to a Jordanian couple that underwent mitochondrial transfer therapy performed by a New York-based team in Mexico.

The new mother in Greece, though, did not have a mitochondrial disease, but was taking part in a fertility clinical trial, New Scientist adds. It notes that the trial is recruiting about two dozen women under the age of 40 with infertility due to egg quality issues who have also failed at least two IVF attempts.

Nuno Costa-Borges, a Spanish embryologist who worked with the Institute of Life team in Greece, tells the Guardian that the approach could help "countless women" with fertility issues. However, Oxford Fertility's Tim Child tells New Scientist that while the risks of mitochondrial transfer might be acceptable for mitochondrial diseases, he says they are not in this case where there are other treatment options.