Thursday 23 October 2014

Healthy baby Bridget makes Irish medical history

Joe Leogue

Published 05/07/2014 | 02:30

Proud father Patrick Mullane with Bridget and Dr John Waterstone, who delivered the baby

A HEALTHY baby girl has been born following revolutionary treatment that allows couples at risk of a specific inherited condition to avoid passing it on to their children.

She is the first Irish baby to be born as a result of the unique treatment which was carried out because her parents are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene.

Bridget was delivered safely at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) on Friday, June 27, weighing in at 7lbs 9oz.

Dr John Waterstone, consultant obstetrician at CUMH and medical director of Cork Fertility Centre – who delivered Bridget – said she is the first arrival after pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in Ireland.

PGD allows couples at risk of a specific inherited condition to avoid passing it on to their children. Conception takes place through IVF treatment and embryos are tested for the condition before being transferred.

Dr Waterstone described the birth of Bridget to parents Lisa Cooke (24) and Patrick Mullane (33), from north Cork, as "an important milestone in Irish reproductive medicine".

Lisa and Patrick were at risk of having a baby with cystic fibrosis, the most common genetic disease in Ireland.

A spokesperson for the Cork Fertility Centre said that PGD is the most technically challenging treatment in assisted reproduction and that the centre is one of only two Irish IVF units to have attempted it. Dr Xiao Zhang, head of research and development at Cork Fertility Centre, said the embryos were frozen by means of 'vitrification' with Lisa returning later to have one embryo transferred into the uterus. "We are delighted by today's success – it is the result of a lot of hard work over the past few years validating and perfecting the underlying laboratory processes," Dr Zhang said.

Irish Independent

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