Three-parent families ‘just three years away’

A child with three genetic parents could be born within the next three years, scientists have predicted.

A team of scientists from Newcastle University have successfully created embryos containing DNA from one man and two women.

Under the current law, these embryos must be destroyed after fourteen days. However, new measures in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill mean these embryos could soon be allowed to develop into children.

The technique aims to prevent certain hereditary diseases being passed from mother to child.

These diseases are carried in faulty DNA in the outer section of the mother’s egg, which can be replaced with healthy DNA from a second woman.

Triangle bullet How the method works

The scientist leading the research, Prof Doug Turnbull, said: “Over the next two or three years we are hoping to make significant progress on this, because we want to offer hope to mothers who have this fault in their mitochondria as soon as possible.”

However, campaigners have warned that the physical and psychological implications for a child born with DNA from three parents are unknown and may only become apparent in subsequent generations.

Related Resources