Last month, in Toronto, Canada, the very first baby to be conceived with the help of a stem cell-dependent in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment was born. Little Zain Rajani has been making headlines since his arrival but parents Natasha and Omar Rajani are just happy to have a healthy baby. Unable to become pregnant naturally, the Rajanis turned to fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination, a naturopath and finally after four long years of trying, IVF as a possible solution. However, because Natasha’s eggs were too old, her doctors attempted a mitochondrial replacement technique called Augment. This treatment entails removing mitochondria from stem cells that develop into eggs, found in Natasha’s ovarian tissue. Stem cell mitochondria replaces the mitochondria in the old egg, and once fertilized behaves like a younger egg, thus hopefully increasing the chances of IVF success. According to a TIME exclusive, Zain is the very first to be born with help of this kind, but he won’t be the last. 7 other babies around the world have also been conceived with this new technique and will be born in the summer of 2015. The new stem cell reliant treatment is controversial, and indeed still illegal in the United States because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers Augment a form of gene therapy, which the FDA regulates. However, perhaps the U.S. will rethink their standing on gene therapy once more healthy babies around the globe are born with the help of Augment to parents who had already tried everything else. As new mom Natasha tells TIME, “We see Zain as a symbol of hope for all couples struggling with infertility. While the process is long, emotional and physically draining, there is light at the end of the tunnel—and that light for us is Zain.” Watch an exclusive TIME video of adorable Zain and his parents.
+ The Incredible, Surprising, Controversial New Way to Make a Baby
Lead Image via Popular Science via TIME