Crit­ics slam ap­proval of ‘de­signer ba­bies’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By REUTERS in Lon­don

The United King­dom be­came the first coun­try on Thurs­day to for­mally li­cense an in-vitro fer­til­iza­tion treat­ment de­signed to cre­ate ba­bies from three peo­ple.

Crit­ics of the treat­ment say it is a dan­ger­ous step that will lead to the cre­ation of ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied “de­signer ba­bies”.

In a long-awaited de­ci­sion, the coun­try’s Hu­man Fer­til­iza­tion and Em­bry­ol­ogy Au­thor­ity gave the fi­nal go-ahead for the treat­ment known as mi­to­chon­drial trans­fer, which doc­tors say could help pre­vent in­cur­able in­her­ited dis­eases.

Par­lia­ment voted last year to change the law to al­low the treat­ments if and when they were ready for li­cens­ing. The lat­est HFEA de­ci­sion means the first Bri­tish ba­bies cre­ated by the tech­nique could be born in 2017.

The tech­nique in­volves in­ter­ven­ing in the fer­til­iza­tion process to re­move mi­to­chon­dria, which act as tiny en­ergy-gen­er­at­ing bat­ter­ies in­side cells, and which, if faulty, can cause fa­tal heart prob­lems, liver fail­ure, brain dis­or­ders, blind­ness and mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy.

The treat­ment is de­signed to help fam­i­lies with mi­to­chon­drial dis­eases — in­cur­able con­di­tions passed down the ma­ter­nal line that af­fect around one in 6,500 chil­dren world­wide.

The treat­ment is known as “three-par­ent” IVF be­cause the ba­bies, born from ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied em­bryos, would have DNA from a mother, a fa­ther and from a fe­male donor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.