Australia moves a step closer to ‘three-person IVF’

Jun 29, 2018

By Bianca Nogrady

A group of Australian politicians has released a road map for the country to move towards legalizing mitochondrial donation. The group’s recommendations, published on 27 June, include that the government consult the public and scientific experts about permitting clinical use of the reproductive technology, which could help women avoid passing genetic defects to their children through mutations in their mitochondria, the structures in cells that generate energy.

The technique uses a healthy donor egg to create an embryo with the nuclear DNA of two people and the mitochondrial DNA of a third. The embryo can then be implanted using in vitro fertilization (IVF). The United Kingdom is currently the only country to allow mitochondrial donation, although no babies have been born using it. Singapore is also considering legalizing the technique.

The Australian committee, composed of members of parliament from the governing party, the opposition and smaller parties, conducted a three-month inquiry before releasing recommendations to the government. These include that the government prepare options for changes to laws that would permit the use of the reproductive technology, and that it help Australians with mitochondrial disease to be treated in the United Kingdom in the meantime. Scientists and patient groups have welcomed the recommendations. The government has yet to respond.

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One comment on “Australia moves a step closer to ‘three-person IVF’”

  • @OP – The United Kingdom is currently the only country to allow mitochondrial donation, although no babies have been born using it. Singapore is also considering legalizing the technique.

    It’s good to see Australia following up on this new advance in fighting inherited diseases!

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/01/permission-given-to-create-britains-first-three-person-babies

    The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) confirmed on Thursday that it had approved the procedures which will now be overseen by Mary Herbert, professor of reproductive biology, and her team at the Newcastle clinic.

    The women will be the first in Britain to have so-called mitochondrial donation therapy, a radical IVF procedure that was made legal by parliamentary vote in 2015. The Newcastle centre was granted a licence to perform the treatment, also known as mitochondrial replacement therapy, in March last year.

    While doctors at Newcastle Fertility Centre said they could not to talk about the cases, citing patient confidentiality, minutes from the HFEA’s approval committee reveal that the two women carry mutations in a gene that causes a rare condition known as myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres, or Merrf syndrome.

    https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/biopolitical-times/first-3-person-ivf-pregnancies-planned-uk

    First 3-person IVF pregnancies planned in UK



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