Ooplasmic Transfer: Overview

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:42 by admin
Ooplasmic transfer is an artificial reproductive technique combining the eggs of two different women. It involves injecting the fluid from a young woman's egg into the egg of an older woman. The fluid contains mitochondria, energy-producing organisms, which seem to rejuvenate the older woman's egg and make in vitro fertilization easier. Mitochondria contain small amounts of DNA. When ooplasmic transfer and in vitro fertilization are performed, the baby born through these techniques has the DNA of three parents.

Scientists at the St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., have used the technique 30 times, resulting in 15 babies since 1997.

The safety of this procedure became an issue after St. Barnabas reported that two fetuses created through ooplasmic transfer suffered from a genetic disorder called Turner's syndrome, which causes birth defects. The affected fetuses were aborted. Doctors are unsure whether the procedure caused the disorder.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned several reproductive clinics to stop practicing ooplasmic transfer. The FDA sent letters to six fertility centers informing them that doctors must seek FDA approval before performing any fertility procedures involving the alteration of human genetic materials.

The FDA does not regulate other fertility procedures such as in vitro fertilization. However, the agency claims that ooplasmic transfer goes beyond simple fertilization of an egg because it involves changing cell biology and tissue.

See Also

  1. Medical Procedures: Overview
  2. Birth Defects
  3. Turner's Syndrome: Overview
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