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article imageThree-Parent IVF agreed in the U.K.

By Tim Sandle     Feb 14, 2015 in Health
London - The British parliament has voted to allow techniques that could help couples produce babies with a reduced chance of passing on heritable mitochondrial diseases.
In vitro fertilization (or IVF) is a medical technique where an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body. It is a well-established treatment for infertility. For IVF to work, it typically requires healthy ova, sperm that can fertilize, and a uterus that can maintain a pregnancy. So what is three person IVF? It is similar to 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).
The British parliament voted 382 to 128 in favor of allowing mitochondrial donation for the purposes of producing embryos using genetic material from three different parents.
Alastair Kent, director of the national charity Genetic Alliance UK, told The Verge: “This is really good news—it’s a triumph of common sense really. It’s one of those occasions when creating a regulatory framework that allows for the appliance of science for the benefit of people who live in insurmountable circumstances has made a real difference.”
Last June, the U.K.’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) released a report stating that the techniques are “not unsafe,” as reported by Digital Journal.
HFEA panel member Robin Lovell-Badge, a researcher with the Medical Research Council (MRC), estimated that, given the additional experimentation that was still needed, the techniques would be approved within two years.
Now, just eight months later, Parliament has taken the first step toward approving the techniques, making Britain the first country in the world to do so. The House of Lords will now consider the new regulations, which are expected to be passed, The Guardian has reported.
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