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Government gives the go ahead for mitochondrial donation during IVF

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 24 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4801
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The UK government will push ahead with plans to allow mitochondrial donation during in vitro fertilisation (IVF) where the child will be at risk of inheriting a serious mitochondrial disorder. The decision came after a public consultation1 and a safety and efficacy assessment, and the next step will be to lay the regulations permitting the procedure before parliament.

Around 1 in 6500 children born in the United Kingdom has a serious mitochondrial disorder, which can include some types of muscular dystrophy, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, and Leigh syndrome.

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely through the maternal line. The technique of mitochondrial transfer is controversial because it combines nuclear DNA from both parents with a tiny amount of mitochondrial DNA in a donor egg to create what has been dubbed a “three parent baby.” As a result, the baby will not carry its mother’s mitochondria that have the DNA for …

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