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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.

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.

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