Mitochondrial donation: an opportunity for middle-aged couples to become parents of a healthy child

Some childless couples, especially those over the age of 40+, who are trying to become parents through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) meet with failure. Why the emphasis is put precisely on the age of forty years? Because medical statistics confirms that at the age of 40 or 45, it is much more difficult for a woman to not only get pregnant, but also to bear a healthy child.

With age, women are less likely to get pregnant

This fact does not mean that it is absolutely dangerous for a woman at the age of 40+ to become pregnant and give birth: hundreds of aged happy mothers confirm this. However, with age, a woman’s ovarian reserve decreases (the so-called stock of healthy eggs-oocytes), which reduces the chances of getting pregnant. In addition to this problem, in some aged patients who could not become pregnant using IVF, there is a low mitochondrial activity. These organelles are the most important components of any cells.

Egg cells, female reproductive cells, also cannot do without functioning mitochondria, which, in their turn, not only provide oocytes with energy, but also have their own hereditary DNA material. With a deficiency of active, functioning mitochondria in the female eggs, often even a healthy embryo placed in the woman’s uterus does not take and the pregnancy does not occur. In this case, successful IVF is possible with using donor mitochondria.

What is the basis of mitochondrial donation

Mitochondrial donation is also called the “three parents method”: the procedure is based on the transplantation of mitochondria from a female donor into an egg cell of a patient who wants to become pregnant, which is then fertilized in vitro with the sperm of a husband or partner.

That is why, when there is a deficiency in functionally active mitochondria in the female eggs, the patient is recommended to have a mitochondrial donation, a procedure that is used in the infertility treatment at the Biotexcom reproductive clinic. Healthy donor mitochondria are integrated with the patient’s cells, fertilized, after which a healthy embryo is placed in the woman’s uterus.

Alternative to surrogacy and the guarantee of a healthy baby

This reproductive technology is also an IVF method, enabling families to have genetically healthy children, since the mitochondrial donation uses the egg of a female donor, which does not contain defective mitochondria. The method is also recommended for women with a high probability of the development of mutations in mitochondrial DNA and subsequent severe illnesses in an unborn baby. Thus, mitochondrial donation helps barren women not only to become mothers, but also to exclude a number of genetic diseases. With the help of mitochondrial donation, a woman can bear and give birth to a child on her own without resorting to surrogacy!