The UK’s fertility regulator is about to make a historic decision on whether to allow the creation of babies from three people.
The technique prevents babies being born with deadly genetic diseases. Three-person IVF has been backed by MPs and peers, got ethical approval and has been shown to be scientifically ready. A meeting of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on Thursday will decide whether to give the final go-ahead.If it does, the first such baby could, at the earliest, be born towards the end of 2017.
The baby would have all the genetic information from its mother and father, plus a tiny amount from a donor woman. The fertility technique has been developed to prevent deadly mitochondrial disease. Mitochondria are the tiny structures in every cell that convert food into useable energy. Defective mitochondria affect one in 200 babies. In severe cases it can leave the child with insufficient energy to keep their heart beating, sustain the brain or move muscles. Mitochondria are passed on only from the mother, so a second donor egg is needed to create healthy children. But as mitochondria have their own genetic code, it means resulting children have DNA from three people.