Three-Person Babies Just Two Years Off

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If the UK legalizes it, babies could be created from three people in about two years, scientists said.

The next generation of IVF would involve the eggs of two women and the sperm of one man in order to prevent mitochondrial diseases, scientists reported to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

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Mitochondrial disease affects one in every 6,500 babies, and is passed on from the mother. By combining the healthy mitochondria from a donor with the nucleus of the mother’s egg, scientists believe two slightly different methods could implant a healthy embryo in the mother’s womb.

“Mitochondrial donation will give women who carry severe mitochondrial disease the opportunity to have children without passing on devastating genetic disorders,” a spokesperson said.

Babies born via the process would inherit genetic material from three people, because mitochondria contain DNA.

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The review, which was commissioned by the government, calls for more detailed testing to assess the safety of the procedure, especially in regards to future generations of transferred mitochondria.

“Are these techniques safe in humans? We won’t know that until it’s actually done in humans,” Andy Greenfield, who chaired the scientific review panel, told the BBC. “Until a healthy baby is born we cannot say 100 percent that these techniques are safe, if you think back to when IVF was a new technology all of these questions were asked before IVF.”

Image: ThinkStock

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