Britain ponders '3-parent' IVF babies

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Britain ponders '3-parent' IVF babies

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Britain plans to offer parents at high risk of having children with severe disabilities a controversial form of IVF treatment.

The potential technique is known as three-parent
in vitro fertilisation, with genes supplied by a mother, father and second female.

The method will help families with mitochondrial diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, that are passed down the mothers line.

Professor Sally Davies is Britain’s Chief Medical Officer: “We are not trying to change how people are, we are not touching the nuclear DNA, which comes from both parents, that makes us look how we are, act as we are, be as we are, it is about the power supply, the energy for the cell and only that.”

A British medical ethics panel judged the technique ethical last year, but critics fear a market in so-called “designer babies.”

Dr David King, founder of Human Genetics Alert sees the process as the start of a slippery slope: “Once we cross that line we will inevitably, step by step, slowly get to that future that everybody wants to avoid, of genetically modified designer babies and a market in children.”

The final decision on whether Britain will offer the new treatment will be taken by parliament next year.