Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

First mitochondrial donation license granted to United Kingdom university

First mitochondrial donation license granted to United Kingdom university

An English hospital on Thursday became the nation's first to win authorization to use the three-person fertility technique in an effort to prevent inherited disease. The faulty mitochondria are genetically transmitted, making it impossible for women who have the disease to give birth to healthy babies.

"This significant decision represents the culmination of many years hard work by researchers, clinical experts and regulators", said Sally Cheshire, head of the human fertilization and embryology authority.

"Patients will now be able to apply individually to the HFEA to undergo mitochondrial donation treatment at Newcastle, which will be life-changing for them, as they seek to avoid passing on serious genetic diseases to future generations".

It is thought that only a small minority of these women will choose to adopt the...

The Newcastle Fertility Centre said it was "good news" and that the first child born through the technique would be in 2018 at the earliest.

The procedure involves giving her an IVF baby with DNA from three individuals and his highly controversial.

This results in an embryo containing nuclear DNA from the mother and father and mitochondrial DNA from the egg donor, which is why it is also known as the "three-person baby" technique.

The disease is passed down from only the mother - so a technique using a donor egg as well as the mother's egg and father's sperm has been developed.

The mitochondria are structures found in the cells that create energy.

The HFEA has approved the first application by doctors in Newcastle for the use of mitochondrial donation to treat patients. One in 4,300 children is born with severe symptoms, which lead to muscle weakness, blindness, deafness, seizures, learning disabilities, diabetes, and heart and liver failure.

The team at Newcastle plans to offer mitochondrial donation to up to 25 women a year with mitochondrial disease.

The world's first and so-far only known mitochondrial transfer baby was born in 2016 after US doctors working at a clinic in Mexico helped a Jordanian couple conceive using the treatment.

The medical team in Newcastle says they are delighted with the decision "to help families affected by these devastating diseases", calling it a "momentous day" for patients, according to the BBC.

When the United Kingdom gave the green light to the technique, the independent watchdog Human Genetics Alert claimed it was "the first step in a well mapped-out process leading to [genetically modified] babies, and a future of consumer eugenics".

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