Sunderland mum prays new procedure spares other families the anguish of tragic baby deaths

INHERITED DISEASE: Sharon Bernardi with her son Edward .
INHERITED DISEASE: Sharon Bernardi with her son Edward .
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A MUM who lost seven children to a genetic disease has praised plans for pioneering research using donated eggs.

Mitochondrial disease has had a devastating impact on Sharon Bernardi, of Springwell, Sunderland.

The inherited disease claimed the life of six of her children in infancy and her seventh child, Edward, who died last March aged 21.

But thanks to new research at Newcastle University donated eggs could be used to transfer DNA between two eggs, eliminating the transmission of inherited disorders.

Scientists at the university have been given £5.8million to build a world-class care centre to continue their work into the technique.

Sharon, aged 46, said: “If there is no health issues then I would encourage women to donate their eggs. People take it for granted that they can have healthy children.”

Sharon’s son Edward, suffered from Leigh’s disease but defied doctors in becoming the oldest person in the world to survive the life-shortening condition.

The disease is passed on by the mother and was passed on to Sharon by her own mum who lost three babies as well.

Sharon said: “If you can rectify this by taking a tiny piece of somebody’s egg and putting it in with your egg then I would encourage that. Nobody wants anyone to suffer the way my son suffered and of course I would have rather him to not be in the pain he was in towards the end of his life.”

An appeal has urged North East women to donate their eggs for the research which would involve taking the nucleus of an embryo with DNA affected by mitochondrial disease and putting it into the egg of a woman with healthy DNA.

The healthy egg would then be implanted into the first woman allowing her baby to be free of the genetic disease in the technique which has been dubbed “three parent IVF”.

The appeal has already seen 600 women volunteer to donate but due to restricting criteria more women are being urged to come forward.

Sharon added: “Obviously when you have had someone like Edward in your life, you can’t really understand until you can see the effects of this disease and see someone you care about go through it. I think this would spare a lot of people heartache as long as it is safe.”

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