The creation of three-parent babies has been given a green light by the UK government, making it the first country in the world to approve them.
According to The Guardian (UK)
, the House of Lords voted 280 to 40 on Tuesday to allow fertility clinics to carry out the procedures in cases where it would prevent an incurable genetic disease.
"This result will be life-changing for many women living with mitochondrial disease, giving them the precious chance to bear unaffected children, removing the condition from a family line and reducing the numbers faced with its devastating effects," said Robert Meadowcroft, chief executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
The process that creates a three-parent child is a type of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) that combines the mitochondria from one woman with the egg of another, and then fertilizes it with the sperm of the father. This results in babies whose genetic material is 0.2 percent donor, 99.8 percent parents.
Mitochondria are microscopic organs that power the body's cells, and they carry a small amount of DNA that is unrelated to the genes that determine a person's physical appearance, personality, etc.
Sometimes the mitochondrial DNA carries a disease that passes down the maternal line. By replacing this DNA with that of a healthy donor, some genetic diseases can be avoided, and rooted out of the family line for good.
By some estimates, 100 to 150 couples would be eligible for this type of IVF each year in Britain.
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