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Three-way IVF under review in UK

Posting in Energy

IVF including two women and a man may be one step closer to acceptance in the United Kingdom.

It is hoped that the new IVF technique could be used to prevent "mitochondrial" diseases that can either be debilitating or fatal. These types of diseases are hereditary and dangerous due to the critical nature of mitochondria in cell function in providing energy.

As mitochondria are passed from mother to child, the new technique involves extracting genetic information from the mother and placing it within a donor egg with healthy mitochondria, which is then fertilized by the father's sperm.

A public consultation and report on the latest advances in the field -- which involves the creation of children with majority DNA from two parents and a small amount from a third party -- is being conducted. U.K. ministers will be advised on the subject by fertility watchdog the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

See also: Supreme Court: We'll decide if human genes can be patented

However, some groups believe that health, safety and ethical concerns related to using DNA from three people need to be addressed.

Prof Lisa Jardine, chairwoman of the HFEA, said it is a matter of "balancing the desire to help families have healthy children with the possible impact on the children themselves and wider society" to allow such scientific developments to go ahead.

Via: BBC

Image credit: Gabi Menashe

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— By on March 19, 2013, 6:09 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure