Dog groomer could be one of first women to have threeparentbaby

first_imgHannah Smith and her partner Rob who are planning to marry next year  Prof Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, added: “I welcome this careful and considered assessment by the HFEA. The UK leads the world in the development of new medical technologies. This decision demonstrates that, thanks to organisations like the HFEA, we also lead the world in our ability to have a rigorous public debate around their adoption.” Hannah Smith and her partner Rob who are planning to marry next year  The UK was the first country to legalise the procedure in 2015, although earlier this year the first baby was born using mitochondrial replacement in Mexico, where there are no laws preventing it.The technique involves transplanting nuclear DNA – which contains all the characteristics which make up a person – from a fertilised egg into a donated egg which contains healthy mitochondria, or alternatively removing the damaged DNA from an egg and replacing it with healthy mitochondria.Mitochondria act as the batteries of the cells giving energy and if they do not work properly it prevents normal development. Scientists believe that it could offer hope for around 150 women a year, a dozens of women are thought to have already expressed interest in the procedure. “It can lead to diabetes, blindness, deafness and stroke, and although I don’t have symptoms yet, I may develop them in future, and I don’t want to pass that that on. So to try to have a baby is not an option.“So I think it is great that Newcastle can now offer this. I am not worried about DNA coming from a donor because it such a tiny amount. All of the nuclear DNA will still be from me. It just means that my baby won’t inherit this illness.“I am hoping to get married next year and we will be starting a family so this means we can do it without worrying.” Researchers at Newcastle University, who developed the technique, and who have been working with Miss Smith and her mother, today became the first group to apply for  licence to carry out the procedure.Miss Smith, who plans to marry partner Rob Southerd next year and then start a family, said: “We only found out three years ago that my mother suffered from mitochondrial disease, which meant she passed it to me, and I would pass it to my children. Yet the HFEA decision has been criticised by campaigners and the church for being dangerous, needless and ethically reckless.Dr David King, director of the secular pro-choice watchdog group, Human Genetics Alert, said: “This decision, to approve experiments on babies, using this dangerous and medically unnecessary technology risks all our children’s futures.  It opens the door to designer babies.”Throughout the process, the campaigners for approval of this technology have relied on shameless emotional blackmail and scientific misrepresentations, and simply ignored the strong majority of people opposed to the technology in the public consultation.”The Church of Scotland also urged the HFEA to ‘think very carefully’ before granting licences for the procedure.  Dr Murdo Macdonald, a geneticist with over 20 years international research experience and Policy Officer on Society, Religion and Technology for the Church of Scotland, said: “This is the first instance of regulatory approval for genetic modification of a human baby. A dog groomer from Leicestershire could become one of the first women in Britain to have a baby born with the DNA of a ‘second mother’ to prevent her passing on a devastating illness.Hannah Smith, 29, has inherited the disease ‘melas syndrome’ from her mother which she would pass on to her own children if she conceived naturally.However yesterday the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved a groundbreaking new therapy which would allows her defective DNA to be replaced by that of a healthy donor.The technique is controversial because a baby born from the procedure would genetically have three parents, and campaigners have warned that it is ethically dubious and may be dangerous.In contrast, scientists and charities say it offers women like Miss Smith the chance to have a family knowing that their children will be free from life-limiting illness.center_img Professor Doug Turnball who pioneered technique says he aims to treat around 25 women a year Credit:Newcastle University  Professor Doug Turnball who pioneered technique says he aims to treat around 25 women a year  “A strong and long-standing international consensus asserts that we should not cross this ethical ‘bright line’, since to do so will very likely lead to a future of genetically modified, ‘enhanced’ and ‘designer’ babies.”However scientists and charities welcomed the development saying that women with mitochondrial disease had already waited too long for the procedure, which has involved a lengthy consultation period, a five-year scientific and ethical review and a change in the law.“This is wonderful news for families who have, in some cases, waited years or even generations for the chance of having a healthy baby,” said Prof Frances Flinter, Consultant of and Professor in Clinical Genetics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.“Mitochondrial disorders can be very serious, progressive conditions and some couples know that they will never be able to have a healthy child of their own without trying this new therapeutic approach.” Prof Sir Doug Turnbull, who has pioneered the treatment at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University said: “In Newcastle, we will be aiming to treat up to 25 carefully selected patients a year with the mitochondrial donation technique as a clinical risk reduction treatment. We will also provide long term follow up of any children born.“We already have a lot interest and we have our application ready so we estimate we should be able to get going be February.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Charities representing people who suffer from mitochondrial disease also said the decision was good news for families.Mr Robert Meadowcroft, CEO of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “We know of many women who have faced heartache and tragedy, and the sorrow of stillbirths, while trying to start their own family, and this decision gives them new hope and choice for the first time.“We recognise this approach is not without some uncertainty, and, in any trial, success cannot be guaranteed. However, it is important that women are able to make informed choices by understanding the risks and the potential benefits.”last_img read more

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