PARENTS

Lucas Neagu Is The First Baby Born Free From A Genetic Disease Thanks To Karyomapping Treatment

18/05/2015 12:12 BST | Updated 18/05/2015 12:59 BST

A family have revealed their son was the first baby in Europe to be born free from a genetic disorder following a pioneering new IVF treatment.

Carmen Neagu, 27, from Essex, suffers from muscle-weakening Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Ms Neagu only experiences mild symptoms, but she had seen her father become unable to walk unaided in his later years as the progressive condition worsened and she knew there was a high chance she would pass it on to her son.

So she was relieved when she and her husband Gabriel, 31, were selected to be the first couple to receive a new embryo screening treatment called karyomapping at a London clinic.

"I knew I did not want to have a baby and make them go through what my dad used to," said Ms Neagu, according to the Daily Mail.

"I felt if there was an option then I would take it. I happened to be the right person at the right time to have this treatment."

lucas neagu

The specialist procedure is able to identify around 200 genetic conditions in embryos including CMT and Down’s Syndrome.

Using the screened embryos the couple then underwent an IVF cycle on the NHS and their son Lucas was born in Southend General Hospital on 19 December 2014, free from CMT and other genetic diseases.

Ms Neagu, a recruitment consultant, said: "Lucas is a very happy baby.

"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."

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She added: "My dad was very smart but in the last seven years of his life he was rejected from jobs because the condition affected his hands and he couldn’t walk unaided. People would only see him for what he was on the outside.

"I think my dad would be so proud. My mum said to me my dad would have been very happy. All he ever wanted was to be normal."

CMT is the name given to a group of inherited conditions which damage the peripheral nerves in the brain and spinal cord. These nerves control the muscles and relay sensory information from the limbs to the brain.

According to the NHS people with CMT may have: muscle weakness in the feet, ankles, legs and hands; an awkward way of walking; highly arched or very flat feet; numbness in the feet, arms and hands.

It is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms get slowly worse, making everyday tasks increasingly difficult.

The Neagus underwent treatment at The Centre For Reproductive And Genetic Health in London.

Paul Serhal, the founder of Centre of Reproductive and Genetic Health, told HuffPost UK Parents: “We were delighted to hear of the safe arrival of the Neagu's baby.

"Six years ago we assisted the conception of the first baby girl to be born free of a genetic marker that would have made her more likely to develop breast cancer, after pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

"And now we are very proud to have played a part in the birth of the first baby born free of a genetic disorder due to karyomapping treatment.

"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.

"If this is not possible alternative methods of PGD are still possible, but will take longer.

"This is groundbreaking techonolgy. It's amazing how far this type of treatment has come in recent years."

IVF Treatment