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Three person IVF being considered

By Tim Sandle     Jul 6, 2013 in Health
The U.K. has moved a step closer to becoming the first country to approve a new type of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that creates babies with DNA from three parents
In vitro fertilization (or IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body. It is a major and well-established treatment for infertility. For IVF to be successful it typically requires healthy ova, sperm that can fertilize, and a uterus that can maintain a pregnancy. Due to the costs of the procedure, IVF is generally attempted only after less expensive options have failed.
So what is three person IVF? It is much like two person IVF, except that the technique uses a snippet of DNA from a healthy female donor to prevent mothers passing on devastating genetic disorders.
The risk of disorders is the reason that this approach is being considered, that is to prevent mothers from passing mitochondrial diseases onto their children. These diseases include Diabetes mellitus and deafness (DAD) and Neuropathy, ataxia, retinitis pigmentosa, and ptosis (NARP). Mitochondria, the tiny energy generators inside cells, contain their own little bit of DNA, which is separate to the genetic material held in the nucleus.
The treatment is, however, controversial. This is because the genetic modifications in the embryo pass down to all future generations. Moreover, the techniques have never been tried in humans, but have worked in animal studies.
Following a public consultation, the BBC notes, the U.K.’s Department of Health has announced that draft regulation for fertility clinics wishing to perform the procedure will be ready by the end of 2013.
Following the announcement, Robin Lovell-Badge, a geneticist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, is quoted by the Guardian as saying: "t will of course be a brave decision for the first families . . . to decide to go ahead once the regulations are approved by parliament, but more often than not, progress requires some element of bravery."
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