Three -Way IVF 'Ethical" Says Report; Treatment Tackles Genetic Disorders

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

A CONTROVERSIAL fertility treatment which could eradicate incurable inherited diseases would be an "ethical treatment option", an independent report has concluded.

Experts at Newcastle University have developed a fertility technique - contentiously dubbed three-parent IVF - which allows the successful transfer of DNA between two human eggs.

It is the first time such a system has been used and the landmark project has the potential to help prevent the transmission of serious inherited disorders known as mitochondrial diseases, which affect around one in 5,000 people the UK.

The techniques being studied are controversial as pro-life campaigners have said it is "a step too far in meddling with human genetics."

However, following a review by Nuffield Council on Bioethics, it has been concluded that the technique would be an ethical option, provided research shows that the treatment is likely to be safe and effective and families are offered full information and support.

Prof Doug Turnbull, who is leading the research at Newcastle University's Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, said: "This is an important step forward as the review was done by an independent bioethics group, and this is of significant importance.

"They have listened to the evidence from a lot of different sources and they have based their conclusions on that evidence. This is a positive step and I am hopeful that in the future approval will be given to allow this treatment to be used. …

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