Normally, for a child to be born, there has to be a fusion of the DNA of two people, one half from the mother and one from the father. That is not the case for Alana Saarinen, she was conceived with the DNA of 3 people in the year 2000. More than 20 years ago as at the time of writing this article.
Her father and mother, Paul and Sharon provided the egg and the sperm while a second woman provided the genes to Alana the tiny power generators in Alana’s cells known as the mitochondria.
How Was It Done?
One way it is done is that they take the egg from a donor, in this case, a woman and insert the nuclear DNA of the mother into the egg from the donor. This egg is now fertilized with the sperm from the father. So, 3 parents, one donates the egg, the mother donates the DNA and the father donates the sperm.
Mitochondria are present inside your cells. They create energy for the cell’s activities. Most of your DNA lies in the nucleus of the cell, each mitochondrion contains its own small set of 37 genes, inherited solely from your mother.
In some cases, the genes that are responsible for the mitochondria can be faulty and this can be passed down to children from their mothers, These diseases are rare. Scientists had been testing a method that helps women who have these mitochondrial defects to have children without the defects.
The method used to create Alana is known as a cytoplasmic transfer is no longer possible. The FDA (Food and drug administration) stopped it because they had concerns about ethics. This method was started in the late 1990s by Dr Jacques Cohen.
Alana Saarinen is currently living well and does not seem to have had any complications whatsoever from the procedure. Scientists are still looking for new methods that “do not cross the line”
Other experts argue that this method is far too experimental to be used especially when a woman could simply ask for a donor egg or adopt.
What do you think?