Creating babies through means other than what is normal have always been controversial. It will likely remain so for some time. This controversy will likely be added as the UK approves of methods to make babies using DNA from three people.
The decision has been made by the UK's fertility regulator. This decision has been called as historic, since it will prevent children to inherit potentially fatal diseases. Sally Chesire is the chair of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, and said in a statement that parents who have a very high risk of passing on life-threatening diseases can now have an option in having a healthy child.
The methods would include procedures that aim to fix mitochondria. Certain conditions in mitochondria can cause muscular dystrophy, multiple organ failure and severe muscle weakness later on. Other conditions such as stroke can be caused by a flaw in mitochondria.
One of the ways that this can be fixed is by removing the nucleus DNA from the mother and then inserting a donor egg in its place. This can be done before or after fertilization, according to Fox News. The result then would be to have mitochondria from the donor while much of the DNA still belongs to the mother.
Clinics though will still need to apply to have these procedures made. Not all clinics will likely be approved to do it, as approval would be on a case-by-case basis. The decision has come just two weeks after an independent panel has recommended the technique, though that recommendation has come with caution, as USA Today reports.
One of those that will apply for the methods proposed is Newcastle University. The university said that it will use the new techniques in treating around 25 patients a year. While Chesire calls the decision to be life changing, critics are saying that it will put people at unnecessary risk over untested procedures.
One of the groups criticizing the decision is Human Genetics Alert. In an interview, David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, said that the decision will open the door for genetically modified designer babies. The controversy will likely not die down soon, as the UK approves methods to make babies using DNA from three people. Designer babies might one day also make way to produce super geniuses, as a report earlier said.