ATHENS, Greece—The successful birth of the first healthy baby through the Maternal Spindle Transfer method – implemented for the first time by Greece’s Institute of Life and Spain’s Embryotools – is a global first, offering the potential to preserve the mother’s genetic material. The method was implemented by Institute of Life IVF Center and Embryotools in order to address fertility issues associated with multiple in vitro fertilization (IVF) failures caused by cytoplasmic dysfunction of the oocytes, or by rare mitochondrial genetic diseases.
The 6.5 pound baby boy was born at 7:46 a.m. today, April 9, 2019, to a 32-year-old Greek woman with a history of multiple IVF failures and poor oocyte quality. The mother and infant are both in good health.
“Today, for the first time in the world, a woman’s inalienable right to become a mother with her own genetic material became a reality. As Greek scientists, we are very proud to announce an international innovation in assisted reproduction, and we are now in a position to make it possible for women with multiple IVF failures or rare mitochondrial genetic diseases to have a healthy child,” said Dr. Panagiotis Psathas, president of the Institute of Life. “At the Institute of Life, our commitment is to continue to help even more couples facing fertility issues to have children with their own DNA, without [needing] egg donors.”
The Maternal Spindle Transfer method, which was developed after five years of basic research at Embryotools in Spain and two and half years of clinical validation at the Institute of Life’s laboratory in Greece, involves mitochondrial replacement in human oocytes, fully preserving the genetic material of the woman who wants to reproduce. In this way, specialists can overcome the problems of women with fertility issues and multiple IVF failures caused by cytoplasmic dysfunctions of their oocytes, or failures caused by rare mitochondrial genetic diseases. The clinical implementation of the Maternal Spindle Transfer method is carried out under licensing and supervision of the Greek National Authority of Assisted Reproduction.
Dr. Nuno Costa-Borges, co-founder of Embryotools and scientific collaborator of the Institute of Life, noted that “The completely successful and safe implementation of the Maternal Spindle Transfer method – for the first time in medical history – is a revolution in assisted reproduction. I want to thank and congratulate the whole European team that made it possible, and especially the Institute of Life IVF Center. Our excellent collaboration and this exceptional result will help countless women to realize their dream of becoming mothers with their own genetic material.”