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One step closer to pioneering IVF treatment developed in Newcastle

Pioneering IVF treatment developed in Newcastle is one step closer after ministers agreed to amend fertility laws.

The draft regulations could see babies born from three genetic parents.

The aim is to eliminate inherited diseases by replacing faulty DNA in egg cells with donated DNA from another egg.

The government has launched a three-month consultation, but critics argue it could lead to designer babies.

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New IVF technique 'a step towards designer babies '

Paul Tully from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said the "three parent" IVF technique is a "step" towards designer babies.

Mr Tully told ITV News: "It is a change that can be passed on to future generations, and we are manipulating the genes of a child.

Paul Tully from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Credit: ITV News

"We're concerned that we are replacing what we know to be defective DNA in the embryos that we don't like with what we think is good DNA - but we can't be sure.

"Putting the money into this kind of research is denying funding to research which is needed and ongoing to help people with mitochondrial diseases and other diseases in other ways.

"We've seen the same thing before with stem cell research, we've seen it with IVF - promises that using embryos will lead to advances but come to nothing.

Newcastle University welcomes Government move on three-parent babies

I am delighted that the Government is moving forward with publishing draft regulations this year and a final version for debate in Parliament next year.

"This is excellent news for families with mitochondrial disease. This will give women who carry these diseased genes more reproductive choice and the opportunity to have children free of mitochondrial disease. I am very grateful to all those who have supported this work.

– Professor Doug Turnbull, Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, University of Newcastle

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Genetic Alliance UK welcomes new IVF technique

Genetic Alliance UK has welcomed the "three parent" IVF technique proposal.

The charity's director, Alastair Kent, said: "Many of these [mitochondrial] conditions are so severe that they are lethal in infancy, creating a lasting impact upon the child's family.

An embryo being frozen with the new vitrification process into a long term storage chamber. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

"An added option for families at risk of having a child with such a condition is welcome".

Experts said the technique would likely be used in around a dozen IVF cases every year.

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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".

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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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