The idea of using a ‘three-parent baby’ technique for infertility just got a boost
We cannot draw firm conclusions about MRI for infertility from the trial conducted by Wells and colleagues. For a start, it was quite small. Above all, there was no control group. We would need to directly compare MRT results with those obtained using standard IVF in a similar group of people.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov, an embryo biologist at Oregon Health & Science University, who is collaborating with Wells, plans to conduct a larger trial in 400 volunteers to get a better idea of how MRT might treat infertility, if at all. All.
Takeout is a bit mixed. Worryingly, MRT does not prevent mitochondrial disease and puts babies at risk for serious illness. But if MRT trials in people who are having trouble conceiving can tell us more about how infertility works and how to treat it, it still has a lot of potential.
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You can read more about the MRT trial and the two reversion cases, in this article, which was published on Thursday.
Karen Weintraub covered the rise and fall of OvaScience’s Augmentation Technique. Both of these articles were published in the same month, which gives you an idea of how quickly this field is changing.
MRT is also being explored as a way to help trans men use their eggs to have babies. An early study suggests the approach could help generate more healthy embryos from their eggs, as I reported last year.
Babies born from MRT technically have three genetic parents. There are other technologies on the horizon that could allow us to create babies with four or even none of the genetic parents. I explored what this means for our understanding of parenthood in a previous edition of The Checkup.
As fertility clinics try to find ways to create healthy embryos for use in IVF, a biotech company finds ways to generate synthetic embryos for research, as my colleague Antonio Regalado reported in August. Embryos are grown in “mechanical wombs”, in case you were wondering.
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