Three Person IVF controversial fertility treatment: estimate about how many couples could benefit

It is currently unknown how effective it may be, or what the short- or long-term consequences are

Wellcome-Trust
A view of the Wellcome Trust sculpture at their headquarters in Euston, London. Would new regulations only allow for mitochondrial donation to prevent mitochondrial disease and set no precedent for genetic manipulation of nuclear DNA?

A modelling study estimated the three-person IVF technique, currently illegal, could be used for thousands of women with genes linked to serious mitochondrial DNA diseases.

There was an initial debate on mitochondrial donation in the House of Commons on the 1st of September 2014. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Newcastle University, The Lily Foundation and Wellcome Trust are organising a drop-in MP briefing session on Tuesday 3rd February from 12.30pm to 2pm in Committee Room 10.

The three-person IVF is designed to prevent babies being born with mitochondrial conditions by usinge healthy mitochondria from a donor egg to replace the mitochondria in the mother’s egg, either before fertilisation or just after, to prevent passing on mutations.

The study estimated almost 2,500 women of child-bearing age in the UK, and almost 12,500 women in the US could benefit from the new IVF technique. As this technique is untried, it is currently unknown how effective it may be, or what the short- or long-term consequences are.

Sources and more information

  • Mitochondrial Donation — How Many Women Could Benefit?, NEJM, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1500960, January 28.
  • Two and a half thousand women could benefit from mitochondrial donation in the UK, Newcastle University, 28th January 2015.
  • Thousands of UK women could benefit from ‘three-person’ IVF, NHS Choices, January 29 2015.
  • Leading figures express support for mitochondrial donation, Wellcome Trust, 29 JAN, 2015.
  • Q&A: Mitochondrial donation, Wellcome Trust, October 2014.
  • Rules for babies ‘from three people‘, BBC News, 17 December 2014.
  • UK first: MPs to vote on three-parent IVF treatment, independent, 17 December 2014.
  • World’s first ‘three-parent’ babies could be born in the UK, theguardian, 17 December 2014.
  • Exclusive: The three-parent baby trap – is new IVF technique safe?, independent, 16 November 2014.
  • Three-parent babies: It’s more messy than we thought, newscientist, 18 September 2014.
  • Procedure to create babies with three people’s DNA could be legalised in April, theguardian, 22 July 2014.
  • Three-person babies ‘in two years’ – says science review, BBC News, 3 June 2014.

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