|Marco Foronda |||Jul 29, 2014 05:16 AM EDT|
The first successful pregnancy using a new in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure called "karyomapping" has been confirmed by doctors in London.
Karyomapping allows doctors to choose embryos free from dangerous mutations carried by one or both parents even if the genetic defect is unknown. Doctors used the karyomapping technique on a couple, Carmen and Gabriel Meagu.
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Fertility specialists at the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health (CRGH) said the couple carried a high risk of passing on a lethal disease to their children. Carmen is on her 17th week of pregnancy.
Her father was the victim of a condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of muscular dystrophy. He died in his 50s.
Carmen inherited the condition and had a 50 percent of passing it on to her children before the new technique.
Using karyomapping, the selection and testing of embryos that used to require months of laboratory work was cut to two weeks. It allowed the couple to continue with their tests without abandoning the regular IVF treatment cycle.
Doctors first take DNA from cheek swabs of the parents and a family member with history of a certain disorder. Gene sequences are then compared and used to create a genetic fingerprint for the mutation that causes the disease.
Doctors can now determine embryos that will or won't be affected by the disorder, or if the carriers will pass it on.
Karyomapping is faster, more powerful and less expensive than standard procedures. It will likely replace the traditional procedure for testing embryos, said Paul Serhal, medical director of CRGH.
It will be available on the National Health Service (NHS).
The new IVF technique is best for couples who are worried about passing their genetic disorders to their children.
Another woman who used the technique is on her 10th week of pregnancy.
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