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Campaign group: IVF technique 'ethically unsound'

The director of the Human Genetics Alert campaign group said the IVF technique used to create babies with three genetic parents is "unnecessary" and "ethically unsound".

A three-day-old human embryo. Credit: PA Wire

Dr David King also criticised the Government for failing to conduct a more comprehensive public consultation on the issue.

Dr King told Reuters, "They cross the ethical line that has been agreed by Governments around the world that we should not genetically alter human beings".

Plans for three parent babies 'unnecessary and unsafe'

Some groups say the proposals for three parent babies are causing worldwide concern:

These techniques are unnecessary and unsafe and were in fact rejected by the majority of consultation responses.

It is a disaster that the decision to cross the line that will eventually lead to a eugenic designer baby market should be taken on the basis of an utterly biased and inadequate consultation.

Such a decision of major historical significance requires a much more extensive public debate with a much clearer outcome.

We therefore call upon the Secretary of State for Health not to legalise the techniques until a major national debate has taken place and the outcome is much clearer.

– Josephine Quintavalle, from the group Comment on Reproductive Ethics

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Experts back ground-breaking 'three parent babies'

A recent public consultation found that 56% of those questioned were "very" or "fairly" positive about the treatments. Patient focus groups were said to be "extremely positive". Experts are also behind the procedures.

Scientists have developed ground-breaking new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on, bringing hope to many families seeking to prevent their future children inheriting them.

It's only right that we look to introduce this life-saving treatment as soon as we can. What we're going to do now is start to develop the regulations, to consult on the regulations, and then to take them into Parliament.

– Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief medical officer

New IVF technique could treat muscular dystrophy

The aim of this form of IVF is to stamp out serious diseases which can be passed from a mother to her children. Around one in 200 babies are born each year in the UK with a defect in the way cells are supplied with energy.

Embryos prepared for instant freezing Credit: Press Association

One in 6,500 babies can suffer potentially life-threatening diseases including a form of muscular dystrophy and conditions leading to hearing and vision loss, heart, lung and liver problems, and bowel disorders. An estimated 12,000 people in the UK live with the diseases.

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Britain moves a step closer to three parent babies

Britain could become the first country in the world to allow babies to be born with three genetic parents to help stamp out serious diseases.

A human embryo before being plunged into liquid nitrogen Credit: Press Association

If MPs agree that the controversial technique is ethically acceptable the first babies could be born by the end of next year.

Some critics believe the move would mark a slippery slope leading to "designer babies". It's predicted that between five and 10 "three parent" babies could be born each year.

'Significant development' for successful IVF treatment

IVF timelapse can allow more than 5,000 snapshots to be taken of developing embryo before it is transferred to the womb.

In the 35 years I have been in this field this is probably the most exciting and significant development that can be of value to all patients seeking IVF.

– Professor Simon Fishel, CARE Fertility Group

Timelapse imaging of the early development of human embryos offers the exciting potential of a novel and non-invasive way of selecting the embryo with the greatest chance of implantation outside the womb.

– Stuart Lavery, consultant gynaecologist, Hammersmith Hospital
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