Government plans for three-parent babies

Fri, 20 Jan 2012

Babies with three genetic parents could be born within a few years, as the Government this week announced plans for a consultation on changing embryology rules.

The Government says the controversial technique may help avoid certain genetic diseases being passed on from mother to child.

But critics say there are serious ethical considerations and the experiments may have harmful unintended consequences.

Caution

In 2008 Parliament passed an embryology bill that gave government ministers the power to introduce regulations allowing three-parent embryos.

The Department of Health this week announced plans to hold a consultation on such regulations.

Josephine Quintavalle, of the pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, cautioned: “Mitochondrial disease is obviously serious and worrying but it does not merit experimenting on humans and unleashing who-knows-what on the next generation.

“It’s like we’ve written off the laws of nature.”

Listen

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “The UK is a world leader in medical research and the Government is committed to getting the regulation around this right, in a way that commands public confidence.

“Scientists have made an important and potentially life-saving discovery in the prevention of mitochondrial disease.

“However, as with all developments in cutting-edge science, it is vital that we do listen to the public’s views before we consider any change in the law allowing it to be used.”

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