US doc warned not to market three-parent baby technique

A New York fertility doctor has been slapped down by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing a controversial three-parent baby technique.

The health watchdog wrote a strongly-worded letter to Dr John Zang, who used Maternal Spindle Transfer (MST) to conceive a baby boy with the genetic information of three parents.

MST and another method called Pro-Nuclear Transfer (PNT) have been legal in the UK since December 2016 despite concerns over safety and the prospect of such techniques opening the door to eugenics.


Dr Zang and his team travelled to Mexico to carry out the procedure and the baby was born there in April 2016 because MST has not been approved in the US.

In its letter to Dr Zang, the FDA noted that he had broken rules on ‘biological products’ by creating an embryo using MST and exporting it out of the US.

The letter added that since then he has continued to market the technique as a “proven treatment for certain genetic disorders” and a “cure for Mitochondrial Disease”.

The watchdog warned Dr Zang to stop marketing the technique and asked him to notify the FDA in writing of the steps he has taken to “address the violation”.

Serious consequences

Mitochondrial replacement technology – including Pro-Nuclear Transfer and Maternal Spindle Transfer – is meant to prevent mitochondrial disease from being passed to a child.

But the techniques involve editing the human germline – a move which experts warn could have serious consequences for future generations.

Last year, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute Humphrey Dobson said: “We should remember that what is being heralded here as ‘treatment’ is simply a ruthless way of screening out those deemed less worthy of life.”

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