Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Three-Parent Baby IVF Given Go-Ahead; TECHNIQUE OFFERS HOPE TO CARRIERS OF HARMFUL DISEASES

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Three-Parent Baby IVF Given Go-Ahead; TECHNIQUE OFFERS HOPE TO CARRIERS OF HARMFUL DISEASES

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH GRAHAM Reporter hannah.graham@trinitymirror.com @HannahGraham21

A LANDMARK decision has brought joy to carriers of an incurable disease, who now hope to have healthy babies.

Scientists at Newcastle University have been given the go-ahead by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to administer a pioneering IVF technique which uses genetic material from three people to create an embryo.

Experts hope this technique could wipe out mitchondrial diseases, often incurable and devastating conditions which can be passed on from mother to child.

The diseases harm the mitochondria in cells, which act like "batteries". Symptoms of mitchondrial conditions include muscle weakness, blindness, deafness, heart failure and seizures.

The UK is the first country in the world to approve and issue a licence for the procedure, which involves replacing the faulty mitochondria present in the affected mother's egg with healthy mitochondria from a donated egg.

The nuclear DNA, which determines the vast majority of inherited characteristics, still comes from the mother and father, but experts are confident that the risk of passing on harmful conditions will be greatly reduced through the procedure.

Hannah Smith hopes to be one of the first women in the world to have a child using this method.

At 29, Hannah, who is from Leicestershire, is desperate to become a parent, along with her fiance, Rob Southerd.

But Hannah knows she carries MELAS, a type of mitchondrial disease, and she's witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of that condition on her own mum.

She's watched her mum suffer terrifying stroke-like episodes, loss of vision, and diabetes.

She said: "I've seen how mitochondrial disease affects families - it's not just the person who is unwell, it's the whole family - my family are quite lucky in a way that myself and my brothers are unaffected or only slightly affected at the moment, but it can be many members of the same family, and then females of that family can pass it on to their children, and that's such a devastating burden for that family. …

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