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UK moves a step closer to being first country in world to allow “three parent babies”

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1899 (Published 21 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1899
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The United Kingdom looks increasingly likely to become the first country in the world to allow the creation of babies from two women and a man after the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) today revealed the results of its government commissioned public consultation on mitochondrial transfer and its analysis of the safety and efficacy issues.

Last year ministers asked the HFEA to conduct a public consultation on attitudes to the use of a three person technique of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) that could prevent debilitating and fatal “mitochondrial” diseases being passed from mother to child. The consultation found public support for use of the technique.1

The government also asked the HFEA to conduct a scientific assessment to review the safety and efficacy of mitochondrial replacement and to consider the practical implications of allowing the use of the technique. It found no evidence indicating that the techniques were unsafe.2

Mitochondrial diseases affect the organs that need the most energy, such as the heart, muscles, and brain. An estimated 12 000 people in the UK have a mitochondrial disease, and about 100 babies are born each year with a severe form of the diseases, many of …

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