A team at the Hospital Quiron in Barcelona has achieved the first birth in Spain of a baby screened for a type of muscular dystrophy at embryo stage.
Baby Carla was born on March 9th, weighing in at 2.48kg and is completely free of the debilitating muscle wasting disease that affects both her father and grandmother - Facio-Scapula-Humeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD)
Dr. Ramón Aurell, head of the Assisted Reproduction Centre at the Hospital Quiron, said that Carla's birth was "a scientific miracle".
Carla's parents were concerned about having children as, under normal circumstances, any child of theirs would have a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. So eggs were harvested from the mother and fertilised 'in vitro' with the father's sperm and then tested for the disease at embryo stage to eliminate the affected ones.
Seven embryos were achieved, one of which was not considered viable, and three of the remaining six tested negative for the FSHD gene. Two of these three were transplanted into the mother's womb, resulting in the pregnancy and subsequent birth of baby Carla.
The genetic diagnosis was carried out when the embryo was just three days old via a cell biopsy.