More than 15 years ago, 17 children were born as a result of an experimental infertility treatment giving them DNA from three different people: the mother, the father, and the egg donor. According to the researches, the kids have grown up to be just fine.

The babies, who are now ages 13 to 18, experienced no health problems and seem to be doing well, according to the embryologist Jacques Cohen from the Institute for Reproductive Medicine & Science at Saint Barnabas in New Jersey, where the entire experiments of the trial treatments were conducted.

Emma Foster, one of the children, gave an interview on Oct. 27.

"I turned out normal," she said. A cheerleader since the age of 10 and is currently looking at colleges thinking to major in engineering. However promising the results are, the infertility procedure that resulted in Emma being born is no longer performed today.

Just last month, a child was born as a result of a completely different procedure, but one that also mixed DNA from three distinct people. This new technique is designed to prevent the inheritance of harmful genes in children, rather than an infertility treatment. Although the procedure was conducted without issues in this case as well, the specialists are concerned about the long-term safety of its practice.

DNA Mixing - A Thing Of The Future

Cohen underscored the message that the successful treatment, which led to Emma's conception, sends to people who cannot conceive, explaining the optimism it invokes. He also stated that his findings never proved that it is universally beneficial and risk-free to perform on a larger scale.

DNA is carried in two different locations by the cells: in the nucleus where the chromosomes reside, and — in a much smaller quantity — in the mitochondria, inside the cytoplasm. Both the procedures used the mitochondria. The latest experimental test aimed to replace the mother's defective mitochondria, injecting mitochondria- containing cytoplasm into the mother's egg.

The genes in the DNA of the mitochondria should have no effect on the child's traits such as the eye color or the hair texture, but they do have an important role in keeping the cells healthy in the body as a whole.

Between the years 1996 and 2001, there were 33 couples undergoing the tests of Cohen's initial procedure, due to their previous failure to conceive a child, even after a large number of in vitro fertilization procedures.

While these new procedures are groundbreaking, they're not the only ones that can work for people who are trying to conceive. In many cases, in vitro fertilization works, even for older women who couldn't normally conceive. Among the reasons responsible for women's impossibility to conceive, increased stress is an important factor that should be taken into consideration. 

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