Three Parent Babies: Britain approves new regulations

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Warm brown eyes or a fiery temper aren’t the only things that can be inherited. Many families suffer from the legacy of genetic diseases like brain disorders, blindness  or muscular dystrophy.

A new amendment to the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act seeks to give new hope to nearly 2500 vulnerable parents-to-be. The regulation, which was voted in earlier this month in the Commons, has also been given the green light in the House of Lords on February 24, 2015.

Most genetic defects are passed via the mother’s mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondria are the cell’s “batteries” giving it energy. The new regulations allow controversial IVF techniques whereby the nucleus DNA (nDNA) is removed from the egg cell of a mother and introduced into the egg cell of a female donor or “second mother” with healthy mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). This means the baby is still genetically the mother’s and just grows in the donor’s healthy mitochondrial environment.

Pro-life and church groups have made their discomfort clear at this new legislation. This future of micro-organ transplant has also divided scientific opinion and raised bioethical dilemmas.

 

 

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