Mitochondrial donation treatment may be an option for patients who are at high risk of passing on a serious mitochondrial disease to their children. Mitochondria are a type of organelle present in nearly all cells including eggs, and their role is to create energy so that cells can function. Mitochondria also contain their own DNA and when this DNA contains abnormalities, mitochondrial disease can result.
There are two main types of mitochondrial donation treatment for affected patients and involves the use of donated eggs; maternal spindle transfer (MST) and pronuclear transfer (PNT). In both techniques, the resulting embryos will contain the nuclear genetic material from the mother and father (or sperm donor) so that the embryos are biologically related to the parents, however the healthy mitochondria will be contributed from a donor egg to ensure that mitochondrial disease is not passed on.