Dr. Alejandro Chavez-Badiola, one of the innovators of “three-parent babies” works at New Hope Fertility Clinic in Mexico City. This is a highly controversial form of fertilization as it takes eggs from two mothers. Dr. Chavez-Badiola was unhappy with the name the media gave his therapy, as it was initially developed to help parents reduce the risk of passing on genetic disorders to their children. It was named “mitochondrial replacement therapy” or “MRT.”
This form of pregnancy is banned in the United States, and some say that this fertility clinic chose Mexico because of its weak laws regulating medicine. It takes the nucleus of the mother’s egg and transfers it to a donor’s egg that had its nucleus removed. This egg is then fertilized by the father’s sperm and placed back in the mother’s uterus.
From Fox News:
Dr. Chávez-Badiola, a gynecologist and obstetrician trained in Mexico and the United Kingdom, told Fox News he hopes to apply MRT to 20 pregnancies in the first half of 2017. He would not disclose, however, how many three-way pregnancies are underway at this time.
The first “three-parent” baby was conceived in Mexico’s New Hope in 2015 but delivered in New York City last year. He was born to a Jordanian couple at risk of reproducing a rare disorder called Leigh disease, an incurable that can lead to a child’s death within years from birth.
The Jordanian couple was treated in the New Hope clinic in Mexico by a U.S. team led by Dr. Zhang. So far, the boy appears to be healthy, according to New Hope, and the successful procedure led Chávez-Badiola and his peers to the conclusion that their work should be extended to a larger number of couples in Mexico.