“Three Parent IVF” or the “Mitochondrial donation” is the latest technology that is gaining popularity as it could prevent the transfer of a life threatening disease from the mother to the offspring. The defective genes from the maternal mitochondria could be prevented being transferred to the offspring using this technology.

Its estimated that 1 in 200 people carry a genetic mutation that may cause mitochondrial disease in some form. Mitochondria being the ‘powerhouse’ of the cells, their impaired functioning could affect the functioning of the vital organs. It’s often difficult to predict the manifestation of the Mitochondrial disease, but it can be fatal.

Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA have their own set of DNA. This extra set is in charge of just 37 genes, all of which are responsible for how mitochondria function. The nuclear DNA encodes for approximately 20,000 genes. Unlike the nuclear DNA, where the offspring inherits a copy each from the mother and the father, the mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother. This means that if there is a defect in mitochondrial genes, there is no opportunity for this to be corrected by inheriting the healthy copy of the equivalent genes from the father and that all the offspring are at the risk of inheriting the disorder. In such scenarios “Mitochondrial Donation” can be of help.

Mitochondrial Donation:

This involves the transferring of the Maternal Nuclear DNA into Donor egg with a healthy mitochondrion (the Donor nuclear DNA being excised).

Procedure: The nuclear DNA from the Maternal egg is excised leaving behind the egg with the defective mitochondria. The maternal DNA is then incorporated into the Donor egg from which the nucleus is removed. The egg thus formed with the Maternal DNA and Donor Ooplasm is then fused with the Sperm of the father. This brings the Parental genomes together and the normal process of fertilization occurs resulting in embryo.

The end result is developing embryo with genetic material from three separate people: the father’s nuclear DNA, the mother’s nuclear DNA, and the donor’s healthy mitochondria with their mitochondrial DNA. Hence the name the “Three Parent IVF”