Inside the Ukrainian clinic creating controversial ‘3 parent’ babies

dr zukin with three parent baby born in kiev x
Clinic director Valery Zukin holding the first three-parent baby. Image credit: Nadiya Clinic

In a clinic on a side street in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, doctors are doing something that, as far as is publicly known, is being done nowhere else in the world: using DNA from three different people to create babies for women who are infertile. “If you can help these families to achieve their own babies, why it must be forbidden?” Dr. Valery Zukin [asks].

Leading ethicists and genetics researchers criticize the clinic for rushing ahead to use this method for infertility. No one knows whether children produced this way will be healthy, they say. And some worry the procedure may open the door to “designer babies.” “This is pretty troubling,” says Marcy Darnovsky, who heads the Center for Genetics and Society.

Related article:  Another human species? Still undiscovered hominid line left ‘ghost DNA’ in West African genomes

These babies end up with DNA from three different people: the woman trying to have a baby; her male partner; and the egg donor who has provided 37 mitochondrial genes. That’s why they’re called three-parent babies.

Because mitochondrial DNA can be inherited, Darnovsky worries the procedure is crossing a line that long has been considered taboo: making changes in human DNA that can be passed down.

Zukin dismisses speculation about designer babies. He says he’s interested only in helping women who are infertile have genetically related children or prevent mitochondrial diseases. And so far, all the babies he has created appear to be perfectly healthy.

Read full, original post: Clinic Claims Success In Making Babies With 3 Parents’ DNA

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