|Posted by BioCoM Executive Account on July 22, 2014 at 11:35 PM|
Back in February, it was announced that the UK’s government was going to allow the controversial IVF (in vitro fertilization) technique of combining two different women’s egg cells in patients. Specifically, the therapy would be replacing the mitochondria of the “bad” egg cells with the “good” mitochondria of the donor’s egg cells. The technique would be used to cure mitochondrial disease that the child would otherwise develop which could lead to muscle weakness, blindness, and heart failure. In the US, it is considered not ready for human clinical trials.
Details on what will be allowed are being finalized over the next couple of months. As of now, application for the procedure will be on a case-by-case basis. The children born will also not be able to find out the identity of the mitochondrial donor. The resulting babies will end up having DNA from two parents and about one percent from the donor since mitochondria have their own DNA.
Opponents claim it is unethical since it could lead to “designer babies.” Dr. David King, director of Human Genetics Alert said, “Looking back 15 years from now in the midst of a designer baby marketplace, people will see this as the moment when the crucial ethical line was crossed.” Despite this, there is widespread public support in the UK for making the mitochondrial replacement therapy available to patients.
Mundasad, Smitha. "Three Person IVF Plans 'progress' in UK." BBC News. BBC, 22 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014.
Categories: Health News