The first baby has been born in Europe from a new IVF procedure that checks embryos for devastating genetic disorders.
Lucas Meagu was at high risk of inheriting a rare form of muscular dystrophy which would have left him with weak muscles making walking and everyday tasks difficult.
However, a ground-breaking technique which is being pioneered by fertility doctors in London has allowed Lucas to be born fit, healthy and free of disease.
Traditional embryo testing procedures require months of laboratory work but the latest technique, known as karyomapping, takes less than a fortnight and can pick up a range of diseases.
Lucas’ mother Carmen, 26, who works in recruitment, inherited Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease from her father who suffered with the illness all his life.
It causes weakness and wasting of the muscles below the knees and often those of the hands and can lead to loss of feeling in the fingers and legs.
Although Mrs Meagu only has mild symptoms, she was concerned that her children would inherit the disease and specialists warned that there was a 50 per cent chance she would pass on the illness.
To isolate the genes responsible for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease doctors took DNA swabs from Mrs Meagu, her mother and Lucas’s father Gabriel, 30, who works for Vodafone.
They then compared the gene sequences at 300,000 different points of the chromosomes to work out which section of genetic code was defective and responsible for the abnormality.
The couple then underwent a normal IVF cycle but, crucially, the embryos created from the procedure were biopsied to find out which ones were free of the genetic disease.
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