UK's First 3-Parent Baby Gets Green Light


The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has given permission for the creation of the country's first “three-parent” babies to help prevent the birth of babies with certain inherited diseases. Two women being treated at the Newcastle Fertility Centre will now receive mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) after being deemed suitable by the HFEA.


The aim of the procedure is to prevent women passing on defective genes in the mitochondria—tiny rod-like power plants in cells which supply energy. But the technique, which involves the creation of IVF babies with DNA from three individuals, is highly controversial.


The baby will have nuclear DNA from its mother and father, which define characteristics such as personality and eye colour. In addition, its mitochondrial DNA will be provided by a female donor - the third “parent”.


An estimated one in 200 children is born with defective mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The UK became the first country in the world to formally allow MRT when the HFEA gave a cautious green light to the procedure last year. Approval of the Newcastle clinic’s facilities, equipment and staff was announced by the HFEA last March, but separate appraisals are still needed to assess the suitability of each candidate.


In 2015, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was amended by Parliament. Mitochondrial replacement was made an exception to the general rule which outlaws tampering with “germline” inherited DNA.

Irish Independent. February 5.

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