Live updates

Advertisement

Three-parent babies could be conceived next year

The first baby conceived using DNA from three different people may be born as early as next year.

Peers yesterday voted to make the UK the first country in the world allowing the creation of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) babies using three parents.

The procedures are aimed at preventing serious inherited mitochondrial diseases.

A three-parent child would have "nuclear" DNA determining individual traits such as facial features and personality from its two parents, plus a tiny amount of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) from an anonymous woman donor.

Opponents, including church leaders and pro-life groups, have warned that the change has been brought about too hastily and marked the start of a "slippery slope" towards designer babies and eugenics.

Advertisement

Three-parent babies vote offers 'real hope' to families

A vote to approve a controversial IVF technique to allow three-parent babies will offer "real hope" to families affected by certain genetic disorders, supporters have claimed.

Speaking as the House of Lords voted against an amendment which would delay the new laws, Lord Howe said it would have been "cruel and perverse" to hold the technology back.

This was the moment the amendment was rejected:

Speaking to a packed chamber, he said:

My own position, shared by ministerial colleagues, is very simple.

Families can see the technology is there to help them and are keen to take it up.

It would be cruel and perverse in my judgment to deny them that opportunity for any longer than absolutely necessary.

– Lord Howe

The new regulations mean healthy mitochondria can be extracted from a donor, and implanted to replace any damaged or unhealthy mitochondria in a woman's egg.

Critics had said the risks of the procedure were not yet fully known, and voiced concern that the legislation was being pushed through too hastily.

House of Lords set to vote on triple-DNA babies

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies is in favour of allowing triple-DNA babies. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Peers will vote today on historic legislation which would see the UK become the first country in the world to allow creation of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) babies using DNA from three different people.

The chief medical officer for England Dame Sally Davies has urged the House of Lords to approve the amendment to the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act and permit the controversial procedures, aimed at preventing serious inherited mitochondrial diseases.

"I want them to consider in the Lords what this is. It's quite separate from the illegal act of changing DNA in the nucleus.

It would give these women their own children and these families hope, and I believe this is right.

We have a very strong regulatory system that would regulate first the service and secondly would review every individual case before they could happen.

– Dame Sally Davies

MPs, including all three main party leaders, voted earlier this month in the Commons to legalise the mitochondrial donation technique, which critics say will lead to "three-parent babies".

Opponents, including church leaders and pro-life groups, have warned that the change has been brought about too hastily and marked the start of a "slippery slope" towards designer babies and eugenics.

Load more updates