Most Brits back three-parent IVF

Tags: Pregnancy

The need for three genetic parents in the IVF process is widely accepted across the UK.

That is according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which discovered through research that most Britons are behind mitochondrial replacement techniques which could help combat inherited diseases.

However, a large number of people remain unsure or undecided about their feelings on the controversial procedures which are currently prohibited.

The results of HFEA's consultation were sent to the Government on Tuesday, while the authority also revealed policies and safeguards for the treatments.

While the vote of confidence from the public clears the way for a law change, the HFEA has stopped short of demanding a move which would allow babies to be conceived with the aid of a second mother's DNA. It has left the decision up to ministers, with Parliament having the final say on a law amendment.

Scientists feel mitochondrial replacement could put an end to a number of serious inherited diseases, while critics have expressed concerns over a move towards "designer" children and eugenics.

Mitochondria supply energy in cells and are made up of their own DNA which comes from mothers. Damaged DNA can lead to potentially fatal diseases, including a form of muscular dystrophy, heart complications and bowel disorders.

Mitochondrial diseases affect one in 200 British children per year.

Mitochondrial replacement techniques replace defective DNA with a healthy alternative from a female donor.

Copyright Press Association 2013

Ask the expert

Got a question about health or wellbeing?
Our team of medical experts are ready to help.