The biological basis for defining bi-parental or tri-parental origin of offspring from cytoplasmic and spindle transfer

Reprod Biomed Online. 2013 Jun;26(6):535-7. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Mar 25.


The bi-parental genetic state is not a given after assisted reproduction. This is based on a biological definition of parentage that concerns generational inheritance of genetic material. Often three or more individuals may participate in artificial reproduction. Only cytoplasmic and spindle transfer can result in the genetic tri-parental state. All other forms involving three or more assisting persons with no heritable genetic contribution must be considered differently. Can a cytoplasmic donor be a biological parent based on a potential contribution of mitochondrial DNA to the offspring? - only if the mitochondrial DNA sequence can be traced back to the donor, a phenomenon which may not be very common. When considering spindle transfer for avoiding transmission of mitochondrial disease, all offspring is likely to be tri-parental.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cytoplasm*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Spindle Apparatus*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial