Although he is only a few months old, Lucas Neagu is an extra special little boy as he is the first baby born to be born in Europe free of any genetic disorders thanks to new technology and IVF treatment.
Lucas’ mother Carmen suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. CMT is an inherited genetic condition which progressively damages the peripheral nerves in the brain and spinal cord. People who suffer from CMT may experience a range of symptoms including muscle weakness in their feet, ankles, legs and hands, have an awkward walk, flat or highly arched feet or numbness in their hands, arms and feet.
Carmen’s father also has the condition and she knew there was a strong chance she would pass it on to her future children. Both Carmen and her husband Gabriel were thrilled to be selected as the first couple to undergo a new embryo screening treatment called Karyomapping at London’s Centre of Reproductive and Genetic Health.
The founder of the Centre of Reproductive and Genetic Health, Paul serial explains that Karyomapping “essentially finds a fingerprint that is unique to the chromosome that carries the defective gene. It is then possible to test embryos for this presence of this fingerprint… the beauty of this procedure is that you can do it within just three to four weeks. However it is only possible if you can take a blood sample from a living relative with the condition you are screening for.”
Thanks to Karyomapping, around 200 genetic conditions in embryos including Down’s Syndrome and CMT can be identified. After Carmen and Gabriel’s embryos were screened, Carmen was then implanted with ‘clear’ embryo and Lucas was born in December 2014.
Following her son’s birth Carmen says “I will tell him he definitely wasn’t an accident, we wanted him and we did everything to make him just as perfect as he is.”