The government has issued new draft regulations which could allow a ‘second mother’ to donate DNA for implantation into a defective egg. This regulation could see the birth of the first three-parent baby by the year 2015.
This procedure which is currently banned was developed by UK scientists in a bid to stop children from suffering certain health conditions, such as muscular dystrophy.
If the law is passed, IVF clinics will have the ability to replace defective DNA with healthy mitochondrial DNA from the donor’s egg. This method is quite controversial as it means that the baby will have DNA from three sources. The study has been applauded by many in the medical arena, but some feel that the transfer of DNA could end in designer babies.
The director of Human Genetics Alert, Dr David King, has stated that if the law is passed, it will be the first time that inheritable human genome modification has been legalised. This process is banned throughout Europe. He states that the techniques have not passed adequate safety tests and the process of legalization is premature. He further stated that the process is unethical.
Aside from this objection, most scientists and health experts are in support of the government’s move, claiming that it could introduce a new genetic medicine era.
Liz Curtis, a member of the Lily Foundation, has stated that her organization welcomes the new draft regulations. She said that there are too many families who have had their lives affected by the effects of mitochondrial health condition. These particular IVF techniques offer families the opportunity to have healthy children. The organisation hopes that the approval process will not be a lengthy one.
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