Three-person IVF moves closer in UK

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The UK has moved closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies from three people.

The UK has moved closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies from three people.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised the government that there is no evidence the advanced form of IVF is unsafe.

The fertility regulator’s public consultation also showed “general support” for the idea as the benefits outweighed the risks.

A final decision on whether to press ahead rests with ministers.

If the techniques were approved it help a handful of families each year. Around one in 6,500 children develop serious “mitochondrial disorders” which are debilitating and fatal.

Research suggests that using mitochondria from a donor egg can prevent the diseases.

However, it would result in babies having DNA from two parents and a tiny amount from a third donor.

Concerns have been raised both about the safety and the ethics of the techniques.

The results of a public consultation at the end of 2012 showed there was support for the idea.

Prof Neva Haites, who was on the expert panel supervising the consultation, said: “Broadly speaking the public was in favour of these novel techniques being translated into treatments.

“They felt that any ethical concerns were outweighed by potential benefits.”

Written By: James Gallagher
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

17 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #2 by Agrajag:

      Bah! That’s nothing new. Jesus had DNA from 3 sources: the Father, the Holy Ghost and Mary.

      Joseph was of course was not a happy camper…cos the angels whispered summat about the daddy in heaven and not the daddy in the stable although the annals demur as to his actual words on the matter!
      The Jeremy Kyle show was contacted with some passion I believe!

  1. have to take the brave decision

    The term “brave” has become ubiquitous; “undaunted” perhaps…

    Lawyers are foaming at the mouth / licking their chops in anticipation of a green light.

  2. I’ve heard that there are people that have moral problems with this procedure (I cannot see why, really).
    Why then, not to take the mitochondria from the father as a donor?
    Would there be a problem there?
    Best regards,
    Gustavo Wolf

    • In reply to #9 by gustavo.wolf:

      I’ve heard that there are people that have moral problems with this procedure (I cannot see why, really).
      Why then, not to take the mitochondria from the father as a donor?
      Would there be a problem there?
      Best regards,
      Gustavo Wolf

      It would appear that there could be a mechanism for their destruction.

      http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondria – An individual’s mitochondrial genes are not inherited by the same mechanism as nuclear genes. The mitochondria, and therefore the mitochondrial DNA, usually comes from the egg only. The sperm’s mitochondria enter the egg, but are marked for later destruction.[7] The egg cell contains relatively few mitochondria, but it is these mitochondria that survive and divide to populate the cells of the adult organism. Mitochondria are, therefore, in most cases inherited down the female line, known as maternal inheritance. This mode is true for all animals, and most other organisms. However, mitochondria is inherited paternally in some conifers plants, though not in pines or yews

      • In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

        In fact it is the mitochondria from sperm that are eliminated, as those are tagged at spermatogenesis for elimination once at the egg. This is what I understand from the article in Nature in your wiki reference (thanks!)

        But as far as I understand, you can get mitochondria from every other cell in the father’s body.

        Best,

        Gustavo

        In reply to #9 by gustavo.wolf:

        I’ve heard that there are people that have moral problems with this procedure (I cannot see why, really).
        Why then, not to take the mitochondria from the father as a donor?
        Would there be a problem there?
        Best regards,
        Gustavo Wolf

        It would appear that there could be a mechanism for their destruction.

        http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondria – An individual’s mitochondrial genes are not inherited by the same mechanism as nuclear genes. The mitochondria, and therefore the mitochondrial DNA, usually comes from the egg only. The sperm’s mitochondria enter the egg, but are marked for later destruction.[7] The egg cell contains relatively few mitochondria, but it is these mitochondria that survive and divide to populate the cells of the adult organism. Mitochondria are, therefore, in most cases inherited down the female line, known as maternal inheritance. This mode is true for all animals, and most other organisms. However, mitochondria is inherited paternally in some conifers plants, though not in pines or yews

  3. What the heck is the point of going to such lengths to increase population? This makes me furious. We need to be focussing on ways to encourage sensible family planning not further embedding the notion that having children is the most important thing in life. If you have to try that hard let it go, let it go.

    • In reply to #10 by Martin_C:

      What the heck is the point of going to such lengths to increase population? This makes me furious. We need to be focussing on ways to encourage sensible family planning not further embedding the notion that having children is the most important thing in life. If you have to try that hard let it go, let it go.

      You do have a point. But I suppose there are emotive issues. I agree however that society should accept that having off-spring is not the be all and end all that it perhaps was in the ancient past. But still you’ve got to admit that the advance in technology to be able to do this is something that the human species should observe with some pride.

    • In reply to #10 by Martin_C:

      What the heck is the point of going to such lengths to increase population? This makes me furious. We need to be focussing on ways to encourage sensible family planning not further embedding the notion that having children is the most important thing in life. If you have to try that hard let it go, let it go.

      Yes, except…. and I’m guessing here …. the parents who are willing and able to go to these lengths are perhaps likely to raise their children with more care and attention than most, leading, hopefully, to some very worthwhile individuals who would otherwise not have existed. I mean by contrast to the many children born into dreadful circumstances of poverty and neglect.

      One answer is to suggest adoption instead, but then, there is the natural tendency to favor one’s own genes.

      Aside: If someone has 3 parents in this way, what do you call the third one? Mother, Father, and what… Mitriarch? Mitty or Mimi for short?

    • In reply to #10 by Martin_C:

      What the heck is the point of going to such lengths to increase population? This makes me furious. We need to be focussing on ways to encourage sensible family planning not further embedding the notion that having children is the most important thing in life. If you have to try that hard let it go, let it go.

      If someone is going to this extended (medical, temporal, and financial) length to have their own children, they’ve likely been engaged in some very serious and cautious family planning. I also don’t agree that this procedure is a mechanism for embedding the notion that having children is the most important thing in life; rather, it seems to me that its main use is simply allowing those parents who already want to have and raise healthy children the chance to avoid difficult mitochondrial problems. You can consider it a better option than these parents having multiple suffering babies in an effort to produce a healthy one – a way to reduce population.

      Unnecessary arguments in my opinion, anyway. If somebody wants to be a parent, who am I to belittle that goal or tell them to abandon it?

    • In reply to #10 by Martin_C:

      I think it is a point of personal choice, as many other things. As far as a couple are not damaging others with their decision (and I don’t see how this would happen here), they should be free to decide.

      My two cents.

      Gustavo

      What the heck is the point of going to such lengths to increase population? This makes me furious. We need to be focussing on ways to encourage sensible family planning not further embedding the notion that having children is the most important thing in life. If you have to try that hard let it go, let it go.

  4. I thought this already happened by accident, egg gets stripped of DNA, implanted with target mother’s DNA, inseminated, residual traces of egg donor show up in the kid….hmmm. May have been some garbage science reporting from the late 90s.

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