In February U.K.'s Parliament released a health department-created proposal that would make the U.K. the first country to legalize the use of eggs from two women in IVF procedures for the purpose of reducing the number of babies born with genetic problems, such as heart and liver defects and muscular dystrophy caused by mitochondrial diseases.
Public consultation over the draft regulations closed May 22, and the measure will now move back to Parliament for consideration within the next two months. If legislation is passed, fertility clinics in the U.K. would be able to transfer the nucleus of an egg from one woman to the egg of another, which, when fertilized by a man's sperm, would contain the genetic material of three individuals.
There are estimates that one in 200 babies in the U.K. is born with mitochondrial disorder, which is inherited from the mother, so the proposed IVF procedure would allow an affected woman to have a baby without passing on mitochondrial disease.
“Mitochondrial disease, including heart disease, liver disease, loss of muscle coordination, and other serious conditions like muscular dystrophy, can have a devastating impact on the people who inherit it,” said the U.K.'s chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, in defense of the controversial proposal.
But the pro-family group Christian Concern has raised both ethical and health concerns over the procedure, known as mitochondria replacement, and is asking the government to back off from passage of the legislation until more research can be done to determine long-term impact.
Click here to read the entire article.