Three-Parent Babies Could be Created by UK Scientists Within Months

Bioethics   |   SPUC   |   Dec 1, 2016   |   4:17PM   |   London, England

Media sources are reporting that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is expected to approve the use of mitochondrial replacement therapy this month, meaning the first babies with the DNA from three people could be created by the spring.

The news comes as a scientific report commissioned by the HFEA concluded on Wednesday that the technique should be approved for “cautious clinical use”. The HFEA will consider the findings at a meeting on 15 December, and, if it endorses the recommendations, invite fertility clinics to apply for licenses.

Parliament has already legalised the controversial procedure, and one baby has reportedly been born from the technique in Mexico.

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, one of the researchers who reviewed the evidence, said “We’re not going to learn much more now unless you try it out for real basically – it’s at that stage.”

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Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, commented: “The proponents of embryo research have repeatedly held out promises of cures and medical advances in the field of inherited conditions. But the benefits have always failed to materialise, and we suspect that the same is happening again here. The parents of children affected by mitochondrial disease are being exploited to support unethical experiments, based on the false hope that their children will benefit.”