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UK clinics may be able to offer mitochrondrial donation next spring

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6492 (Published 01 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6492
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

A scientific panel has given the go ahead for use of mitochondrial donation in carefully selected women to improve their chances of having children free of inherited mitochondrial diseases.1

The technique involves substituting healthy mitochondrial DNA from a donor egg for the abnormal version carried by the mother’s eggs, before or after the egg has been fertilised. The resulting embryo, with nuclear DNA from the mother and the father and mitochondrial DNA from the donor, is then implanted in the mother’s womb.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority set up the panel after parliament last year approved the use of two techniques for mitochondrial donation.2 3 4 5 The panel’s remit was to advise whether the procedures were ready for clinical application. It has determined that they are, subject to some caveats.

The report will now go to the authority for consideration at a meeting on 15 December. If it agrees, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics will be able to apply for a licence to perform the procedure. Those granted a licence will then have to submit case by case justifications …

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