The House of Lords has approved controversial IVF procedures aimed at preventing inherited mitochondrial diseases.
Over the last couple of months we have heard a lot of different views regarding the use of “three-person IVF” in the UK. Some people are all for it and others against it. What about you? Yes? No? Or maybe you would really like to understand what this actually is and what it means!
Babies conceived through this IVF technique would have biological material from three different people – a mother, father and a female donor.
Mitochondria are small structures inside cells that provide the cells with energy. They have their own set of 37 genes which are separate from the 20,000 or so genes in the cell nucleus that shape who we are. Everyone has mitochondria in their cells, however only mothers pass them on to their children.
So it is the woman who passes down the mitochondrial DNA and may have a few faulty mitochondria without knowing as there are no symptoms. This may not affect her but when she becomes pregnant, her eggs would carry various amounts of faulty mitochondria so her baby may be born with a mitochondrial disease. Faulty mitochondria have been linked to very serious life threatening conditions.
So in simple terms this new treatment, mitochondrial donation, replaces a small amount of faulty DNA in a mother’s egg with healthy DNA from an egg donor. Any baby would then inherit genes from two mothers and one father preventing certain genetic conditions being passed on.
Technically the baby would have three biological parents, with 99.8% of genetic material coming from the mother and father and 0.2% coming from the mitochondrial donor.
The illustration below explains the process:
At Altrui we’ve recently started putting pregnancy and birth announcements online – it’s wonderful to share positive news and everyone who reads it feels good. But it’s got us thinking about how we can publicly celebrate donors’ amazing gift while protecting your privacy online. We follow HFEA guidelines on anonymity, meaning we only let donors […]
An Altrui egg donor explains why she can’t let anyone know she’s donating eggs For Asian women there are clear cultural attitudes about being fertile and having children, with a correspondingly large stigma attached to being infertile. It is automatically assumed that a couple will have children, which is a major milestone in any […]
There can be a mass of information to absorb going through the egg donation cycle as a donor, so to make some aspects a little easier to digest we have put together a series of short videos which go a long way towards explaining the treatment that egg donors go through. Thanks to two of […]
I chose to become an egg donor for two reasons, the first reason being that my mum was adopted by the most loving couple and this was my way of saying thank you to my grandparents. And the second reason being that my little sister is unable to have kids (or so we thought). Donating […]
I chose to become an egg donor for two reasons, the first reason being that my mum was adopted by the most loving couple and this was my way of saying thank you to my grandparents. And the second reason being that my little sister is unable to have kids (or so we thought). First […]
However reluctant we are to admit that it’s autumn now and this year’s summer has gone, there are some clear signs that time is moving on: kids are going back to school. But back to school time can be a difficult reminder for infertile couples of what they are missing out on. Pamela says, “When […]
You know the feeling? You’ve looked forward to the donation for months, your family’s been all excited, you’ve got through the treatment, you’ve had the collection, your eggs are fertilised and you know the outcome… and then what? Women become egg donors out of empathy and compassion and the desire to make a positive difference […]
Jenny tells us about her special reason for losing weight – she wants to become an egg donor. I first approached Altrui when I saw one of their ads on Facebook – I hadn’t thought about donation before then. But my auntie had fertility problems and hasn’t been able to have children of her own, […]
Here in Yorkshire we’re deep in preparation for the Yorkshire Tour, due to start in Leeds on 5th July. And as the peloton passes by Altrui HQ and the homes of most of our team that weekend, we thought we’d have a bit of fun with it. So sit back and let us tell you […]