Three-person IVF 'is ethical' to treat mitochondrial disease [says UK bioethics council]

A controversial fertility treatment which creates embryos from two women and one man to prevent life-threatening disorders is ethical, a report says.

Children born through “three-person IVF” would contain some genetic material from three people.

The UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics said the technique could free children from “very severe and debilitating disorders”.

The process takes the core genetic material from fertilized egg and inserts it into a “clean” egg. The intent is to give the zygote healthy mitochondria, the miniature power plants inside cells which are vital to their long term functioning. Some persons have defective mitochondria which result in certain genetic diseases, and this IVF technique seeks to overcome that defect. Approximately 0.1% of the genetic material in the new zygote would come from the third person.

The technique isn’t ready for use. It still needs safety and effectiveness testing. But the government agency which regulates such things will begin a public education and discussion of the technique in September.

In 30 years, we will mix genetic material of 1001 people plus some of the animals which fly, others of the animals which swim.

Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “We are as anxious as anybody to see cures for the many serious conditions related to mitochondrial defects, but what is being proposed is not a cure either for the individual patient or the diseases themselves.

“It is an attempt to genetically modify the human species, creating an abnormal embryo using donor components from three or more adult sources, passing on these changes to future generations, with who knows what awful consequences.”

Pro life groups and a US bioethics experts condemned this in 2010 when news of it spread:

David Cameron supports three person IVF.

Bioethics isn’t what it used to be. They will justify almost anything at the beginning and end of life to suit the purposes of “the community”. Look up the Georgetown Mantra.

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