UK Grants First License For Three-Parent Babies

First clinic to carry out three-parent baby procedure is named

Fertility doctors in Newcastle have been awarded the first licence to prevent inherited disease by creating a baby with three genetic parents.

The breakthrough technique uses cutting edge gene-editing technology to prevent an unborn baby from developing mitochondrial disease.

Researchers hailed a "historic" moment today as the fertility regulator approved the technique after more than a decade of debate over its safety and ethical implications.

Britain became the first country in the world formally to allow what's called "mitochondrial replacement therapy", when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority gave a cautious green light to the procedure previous year.

It is thought that only a small minority of these women will choose to adopt the...

Scientists at the University of Newcastle have been pioneering the treatment working with the fertility clinic and a number of patients are understood to be lined up for treatments which are expected to start this Spring.

The method is known as a mitochondrial donation in-vitro fertilization (IVF), commonly known as the "three-parent baby" technique. The technique involves the removal of nuclear DNA from the egg of a mother who is at risk of passing mitochondrial disease to her child, and transferring the nuclear DNA to a nuclear-DNA free egg from a healthy donor.

In mitochondrial replacement, an embryo containing healthy mitochondria from the donor is combined with nuclear DNA from the baby's mother and father.

Those children have caused critics to object to three parent babies for safety reasons, arguing that scientists should not be experimenting on what they view as a potential human life. Mitochondria provide humans with energy and are present in nearly every cell within the body.

The technique, which will be groundbreaking in the United Kingdom, involves transplanting nuclear DNA from a fertilised egg into a donated egg - an egg which contains healthy mitochondria.

One in 4,300 children are born with such severe symptoms they develop muscle weakness, blindness, deafness, seizures, learning disabilities, diabetes, heart and liver failure.

The team at Newcastle plans to offer mitochondrial donation to up to 25 women a year with mitochondrial disease.

"This will allow women with mitochondrial DNA mutations the opportunity for more reproductive choice".

A baby born in Mexico a year ago was the first in the world to be treated with MRT, but the therapy remains "highly controversial", says Sky News.

Newcastle Fertility Centre said that the development was a "momentous day" for patients trying to avoid the transmission of mitochondrial diseases.

Britain is the first country to allow the therapy, with MPs voting to approve it in 2015.

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