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Plans for three-parent babies outlined

Britain could be the first nation to see the introduction of three-parent babies. Credit: PA

Britain has moved a step closer to introducing the creation of babies with the sperm and eggs of three people, as new guidelines were published indicating how the procedure would be regulated.

The guidelines are now in public consultation, but the government is committed to introducing the technique, and says it could be even be introduced in hospitals as early as next year.

That could make the country the first in the world to commence the pioneering treatment.

Known as ‘mitochondrial transfer’, the advanced IVF technique uses parents’ donor eggs with the addition of an egg from a donor.

That donor egg, doctors say, could be key to helping defeat potentially fatal mitochondrial diseases passed to a child by affected mothers, while still retaining the genetic links between the baby and both original parents.

However, critics like the campaign group Human Genetics Alert fear that the merits of the new techniques haven’t got clear public backing and need to be properly debated.

Dr David King, director of the group, said: "We would argue that much more research is needed on the safety concerns before such the techniques could be judged safe enough to be used clinically."