UK moves closer to 'three-parent babies' after historic vote

Britain has moved a step closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies with DNA from three different people after MPs overwhelmingly backed new legislation.

MPs voted in favour of mitochondrial donation techniques by 382 to 128 in the historic Commons vote.

Live updates

MPs pave way for 'three-parent babies' in historic vote

MPs made history today by voting to legalise a new fertilisation technique that creates so called 'three-parent babies'.

The technique allows genetic material donated by a third person to be used to eliminate life-threatening conditions in new babies.

If the amendment passes the House of Lords, Britain would be the first country in the world to allow the ground-breaking technique.

ITV News' Health Editor Rachel Younger reports:


Roman Catholic Church 'opposed on principle' to IVF change

The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has reiterated its opposition to mitochondrial donation after the vote.

Bishop John Sherrington, speaking for the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said:

Whilst the Church recognises the suffering that mitochondrial diseases bring and hopes that alternative methods of treatment can be found, it remains opposed on principle to these procedures where the destruction of human embryos is part of the process.

This is about a human life with potential, arising from a father and a mother, being used as disposable material ...

– Bishop John Sherrington

Pro-life group: This is a 'sad day for science and ethics'

Josephine Quintavalle, from the pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core), released this statement on what she called a "sad, sad day for both science and ethics":

It is hard not to feel despair that so many elected members of Parliament could agree to such a dangerous and unethical re-writing of human biology, no matter how virtuous the end objective of creating children without mitochondrial disease.

We have always argued in favour of seeking cures for mitochondrial disease but research applications in the United Kingdom will be aimed not at cures, but rather at creating a different kind of human embryo hopefully not carrying the condition.

– Josephine Quintavalle, Core

Vote will 'keep UK at forefront of scientific development'

The Government's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has said she is "delighted" that MPs passed the amendment and that she hopes the Lords will do the same.

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

She said: "Mitochondrial donation will give women who carry severe mitochondrial disease the opportunity to have children without passing on devastating genetic disorders.

"It will also keep the UK at the forefront of scientific development in this area," Dame Sally added.


First 'three-parent' child 'could be born in 2016'

A spokesman for the Wellcome Trust has said that the first child conceived using a mitochondrial donation could be born before the end of 2016.

He said the amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act could pass the House of Lords in a "couple of weeks". Several experiments must take place before the terms of application for a licence are set.

"Our estimate is that the first licence will be applied for in November this year, and the first baby might be born in 2016," he added.

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign hails 'milestone' moment

Robert Meadowcroft, chief executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, which supports families affected by mitochondrial disease, welcomed today's vote in the House of Commons:

We have finally reached a milestone in giving women an invaluable choice, the choice to become a mother without fear of passing on a lifetime under the shadow of mitochondrial disease to their child. Today, MPs have responded to the broad public support for mitochondrial donation IVF, which follows years of ethical, scientific and public consultations ... The next step is for us to make sure peers are armed with the full facts surrounding mitochondrial donation IVF ahead of a debate in the House of Lords.

– Robert Meadowcroft, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

Three-person babies result a 'vote of confidence'

Speaking after MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing a "three-person" IVF technique, Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said:

This is a vote of confidence in the patients, scientists, doctors and ethicists who have worked hard for a decade to explain this complex research to politicians, the public and the media, and in the exemplary process for reviewing scientific, ethical and public opinion led by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

– Dr Jeremy Farrar

MPs pass 'three-person babies' legislation

Britain has become the first country in the world to allow the creation of babies with DNA from three different people after MPs overwhelmingly backed new legislation.

MPs voted in favour of mitochondrial donation techniques by 382 to 128 in the historic Commons vote.

Doctors say the treatment will mark a major step forward in preventing inherited diseases by allowing faulty DNA to be replaced.

But opponents argue that it could lead to so-called "designer babies" being created.

Load more updates Back to top

Latest ITV News reports