Two infertile women in Ukraine underwent the mitochondrial transfer procedure to get pregnant.
Even though the technique is only legal in the United Kingdom it was already used in Mexico where a team of US doctors used this technique on a Jordanian couple to help them conceive. The procedure was a success and the baby was healthy and free of the genetic disease carried by the mother.
The main goal of the mitochondrial transfer (three parent technique) is to avoid passing on the genetic diseases onto the child. The woman from Jordan was the carrier of the Leigh syndrome which caused her to have many miscarriages and the children who were born died shortly after birth.
Mitochondrial transfer in Ukraine
Ukraine has always been one of the most liberal countries when it comes to fertility treatments. Many women which where banned from IVF in other counties because of their advanced maternal age, found specialists and clinics that would help them in Ukraine. In some cases women go to Ukraine for surrogacy as their home country does not allow it. Now Ukraine is the second country in the world to carry out such an advanced procedure as mitochondrial transfer.
Both of the women that underwent the three parent technique procedure are married and tried IVF but their cells suddenly stopped growing during the process. Using the three parent method the doctors were able to bypass this fertility problem and now both women are pregnant, one is 20 weeks pregnant with a son and the other 26 weeks pregnant with a daughter.
The team which carried out the procedure was lead by dr Valery Zukin, the director of the Nadiya Clinic of Reproductive Medicine in Kiev. The doctor believed that because of the bulk of the cells they were not able to develop properly which lead to embryo arrest. The growth of the cells was probably blocked by the enzymes in the mother’s cell. Dr Zukin and his team were able to bypass that problem by using the ‘pro-nuclear transfer’. Dr Zukin will talk about the procedure at a conference in New York this week.
How is it done?
The new procedure started off similar to a normal IVF treatment. The mother’s egg was fertilized with her husband’s sperm. Then the donor egg was also fertilized with the husband’s sperm. Next the ‘pro-nucleus’ containing the mother’s and father’s chromosomes was extracted from the mother’s egg and then the pro-nucleus from the donor’s egg was extracted and replaced with the parents’ pro-nucleus.
According to experts mitochondrial transfer might be used not only to avoid hereditary diseases and that possibilities are almost endless.
With these amazing results Ukraine shows again that it still is one of the key players in infertility.