UK panel backs possible three-parent IVF babies

A British scientific panel gave backing on Tuesday to possible three-way fertility treatments to allow genetically modified embryo implementation into women.

Reuters reported:

“The “three-parent” IVF techniques are designed to help families with particular genetic faults who want to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children. They could be available for patients in two years, the scientists told reporters at a briefing in London.

Known as mitochondrial replacement or transfer, the methods are at the research stage in laboratories in Britain and the United States and have never yet been carried out in people anywhere in the world.”

Mitochondrial replacement consists of removing defective mitochondrial DNA that cause inherited conditions such as liver failure, heart problems and brain disorders. About one in 6,000 babies across the world are born with mitochondrial disorders.

The possible treatments are considered three-parent IVF because the babies would have genes from a mother, a father and a female donor.

The treatments are currently illegal in Great Britain, but the government is already developing draft legislation to pass them into law if they prove safe and effective.

The United States is also making progress toward three-parent IVF developments; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has assembled a committee to determine how minimal the safety concerns are in order to decide whether clinical trials should begin.