Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Inherited Diseases Technique Closer; Three Genetic Parents for a Baby Possible

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Inherited Diseases Technique Closer; Three Genetic Parents for a Baby Possible

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter? 0191 201 6269 ?

PIONEERING fertility treatment developed in the North East which could eradicate incurable inherited diseases has moved a step closer to being offered to patients.

Britain could become the first country in the world to allow babies to be born with three genetic parents to prevent the transmission of maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders.

A landmark decision by the Department of Health opens the door to a controversial treatment for inherited diseases that make use of donated DNA from a second donor "mother".

Yesterday, Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, outlined support for the technique developed by specialists at Newcastle University.

New regulations to fertility law allowing the procedure will be issued for public consultation later this year, then debated in Parliament.

If MPs find the technique ethically acceptable, the first patients could be treated within months. It is envisaged that between five and 10 "three parent" babies would be born each year.

Allowing the currently illegal techniques would mark a turning point because it means, for the first time ever, altering the "germline" made up of inherited DNA.

Prof Doug Turnbull, director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research at the University of Newcastle, said: "This is excellent news for families with mitochondrial disease.

"This will give women who carry these diseased genes more reproductive choice and the opportunity to have children free of mitochondrial disease.

"This is something that is very positive for the North East. If people have genetic disease they want to have hope, they want to know that people like me are working to try and get something that is going to help them."

The groundbreaking fertility treatment involves taking the nucleus of an embryo from a mother with defective DNA and putting it into the egg of a woman with healthy DNA. This healthy egg is then implanted into the first woman, allowing them to create a baby free of genetic disease. A child produced this way would have DNA from two women and a man. …

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