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England prepares for technique allowing children with 3 'parents'

June 28, 2013

Health officials in the United Kingdom are drafting guidelines that could allow for the birth of children with DNA provided by three different people.

The regulations will allow for new techniques of in vitro fertilization in which the nucleus of one embryo is removed, destroyed, and replaced by the nuclear from another embryo. Promoters of the technique see it as a way to help couples whose children are conceived with deadly mitochondrial diseases; a nucleus produced by the affected couple is placed in an embryo with healthy mitochondria.

“It’s only right that we look to introduce this life-saving treatment as soon as we can,” said Dame Sally Davies, England’s top medical official. She acknowledged “sensitive” questions raised by the procedure, but concluded that she was “personally very comfortable” with it.

The regulations would make the United Kingdom the first nation to allow for the creation of children with three genetic “parents.” Opponents of the technique cite the moral problems raised by mixing the lines of genetic heritage and the relations between parents and children, as well as the destruction of human embryos in the process itself.


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