Britain grants first licence to use "three-person baby" technique in treatment
A fertility clinic has become the first in the United Kingdom to be granted a licence to use a controversial DNA replacement treatment that results in "three-parent babies".
The breakthrough technique uses cutting edge gene-editing technology to prevent an unborn baby from developing mitochondrial disease.
A so far unnamed woman will undergo mitochondrial replacement therapy treatment at the Newcastle Fertility at Life clinic.
It is thought that only a small minority of these women will choose to adopt the...
The regulator approved the licence for scientists at Newcastle University, who will be the first to carry out mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), as the technique is known. He said: "We had hoped that the HFEA would have listened to the thousands of people who have expressed concern about three parent embryos".
But some researchers take issue with the name "three-parent" baby, arguing that mitochondrial DNA doesn't contribute to a person's traits and the donor shouldn't qualify as a "parent".
Mitochondria are the powerhouses that provide people with energy and are present in nearly every cell in the body.
They believe first child with this advance technology to be born in year 2018.
It affects one in 4,300 births - and can cause muscle weakness, blindness, learning disabilities, heart and liver failure, deafness and seizures and can also prove to be fatal.
Many years of research have led to the development of pronuclear transfer as a treatment to reduce the risk of mothers transmitting disease to their children, said Professor Mary Herbert at the Newcastle University. During this procedure, scientists harvest the nucleus and DNA from the mother's egg and implant it in the donor egg, which is then fertilized and implanted through IVF.
The HFEA has approved the first application by doctors in Newcastle for the use of mitochondrial donation to treat patients.
The team aim to offer treatment to 25 women a year and are now looking for egg donors.
"This will allow women with mitochondrial DNA mutations the opportunity for more reproductive choice".
The clinic's first three-parent babies could be born early next year.
"Mitochondria diseases can be devastating for families affected and this is a momentous day for patients who have tirelessly campaigned for this decision", said Doug Turnbull.
Britain became the first country in the world formally to allow mitochondrial replacement therapy when the HFEA gave a cautious green light to the procedure previous year.
Mar 18 2017