UK fertilisation authority launches consultation on mitochondrial replacement techniques

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 18 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6259
  1. Toby Pitts-Tucker
  1. 1BMJ

The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has launched a public consultation on the ethical and social implications of new in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques designed to avoid the maternal transmission of mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial disease affects around one in 200 births each year in the United Kingdom, the HFEA says, and can affect a number of different organs with varying severity.

Two new techniques, maternal spindle transfer and pro-nuclear transfer, could enable women to avoid passing these diseases on to their offspring. Both use a donor’s mitochondria to create a healthy embryo that would then be used in normal IVF treatment. Offspring would thereby share DNA with three people and have an altered germ line such …

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