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UK Is The First Country To Legalize The Controversial 'Three-Parent Baby'

First Posted: Dec 19, 2016 03:28 AM EST
Mother And Child
The U.K. legalizes the "three-parent baby." (Image for representation only.)
(Photo : Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The United Kingdom legalizes the three-parent baby using healthy DNA material of two women and one man. This is created to inhibit the children born with deadly genetic diseases.

The U.K. fertility clinic regulator, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), approved the controversial three-parent baby technique. This is developed by British scientists to replace the egg's defective mitochondrial DNA with healthy mitochondrial DNA from another female donor to prevent the child from having genetic flaws, according to Camping Nuck.

Sally Cheshire, HFEA Chair, said that today's historic decision means that parents at very high risk of having a child with a life-threatening mitochondrial disease may soon have the chance of a healthy, genetically related child. She further said that this is life-changing for those families.

Huffington Post reports that the baby would have two biological mothers and a father. This could potentially trigger challenges on the custody or inheritance. The HFEA approved this technique in "certain, specific cases" only if there are no other options. These include screening for healthy embryos.

The technique has a process of transplanting nuclear DNA. This encodes the individual's characteristics from a fertilized egg into the donated egg from a donor that has healthy mitochondria. The damaged mitochondrial DNA will be replaced with healthy mitochondria. Children with damaged mitochondria resulted to a potentially fatal condition. This mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother.

It is reported that the first three-parent babies would likely be born in late 2017. The Newcastle University is the one that established the technique. It is seeking women with healthy eggs for replacement DNA. It hopes to treat 25 carefully selected parents a year. There will also be a provision for long-term follow-up of any children born, according to Professor Doug Turnbull, director of the University's Mitochondrial Research Center.

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