Critics slam approval of ‘designer babies’
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.