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UK's first three-parent babies expected next year

Fri 17 Mar 2017
By Premier Journalist

Newcastle University has been granted Britain's first licence to carry out IVF using the DNA of three people.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has granted a treatment license to the university's fertility centre.

The aim of the treatment is to prevent potentially life-threatening inherited diseases caused by abnormal genes in the mitochondria of human cells.

IVF Treatment

 

IVF babies born through the fertility technique would receive 0.1 per cent of their DNA from a third person besides their mother and father.

The Newcastle Fertility Centre said it was "good news" and that the first child born through the technique would be in 2018 at the earliest.

The team aim to offer treatment to 25 women a year and are currently looking for egg donors.

The UK became the first country to legalise the procedure in December but the first baby born using the technique was in Mexico earlier this year, where there are no laws preventing the procedure.

Pro-life charity Life criticised HEFA for granting the license. Mark Bhagwandin, from the group, said: "There is nothing cautious about the approval of a licence which will result in the uncertain and potentially dangerous genetic modification of human beings.

"It is at the very least reckless and irresponsible given that we have absolutely no idea what the long term consequences are to us interfering with the human genome.

"Just last year a study on mice showed that this therapy could influence metabolism and aging. It has also already been acknowledged by scientists that there is risk of the original "defective mitochondria" still entering the modified embryo and could ultimately fail."

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