U.K. fertility clinics can now create 3-parent babies

U.K. fertility clinics can now create 3-parent babies

Fertility clinics in the United Kingdom can now apply for licenses for creating three-parent babies as the national regulator has approved the controversial technique.

The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced on Thursday that it has approved the technique and started to accept applications from fertility clinics for licenses to perform the procedure.

The approval means the technique, known as mitochondrial donation, is now legal, allowing people to legally create a baby from the DNA of three people in certain, specific cases.

Announcing the decision, HFEA Chairperson Sally Cheshire said, “Today’s historic decision means that parents at very high risk of having a child with a life-threatening mitochondrial disease may soon have the chance of a healthy, genetically related child. This is life-changing for those families.”

The decision is by no means sudden as the UK Parliament approved the procedure in February 2015, and a regulatory framework came into existence in October last year. However, HFEA advised fertility clinics to wait until it completed a review and provided its own recommendations.

The main objective of the technique is to help those women who carry diseases called “mitochondrial disorders,” which get passed down to babies through defective genetic material in the mother’s eggs. The new technique will allow such women to use healthy mitochondrial DNA in the form of eggs donated by other women.

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