Three-parent baby trap
The three-parent baby trap: is new IVF technique safe?
Britain is set to become the first country in the world to allow a procedure that promises to prevent inherited disorders being passed on. But from the US comes a warning that we may be acting prematurely Technique for three-parent babies 'is not yet safe'
Plans to allow the creation of so-called "three-parent" in vitro fertilisation (IVF) babies as early as next year are premature because of unresolved safety concerns about the future health of the children, a senior science adviser has warned.
The UK is poised to become the first country in the world to allow the creation of IVF embryos by merging the genetic material of two egg cells in order to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disorders.
But the United States has decided it is still too early to permit the procedure, said Professor Evan Snyder, who chairs the scientific panel advising the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on mitochondrial transfer.
He said there are still too many safety issues to allow the first clinical trials of the technique in America - and by implication in Britain, where the Government's own scientific advice is that the technique is "not unsafe". Parliament is expected to vote soon on whether to change the law and allow the mitochondrial transfer procedure in the UK, which could pave the way for researchers at Newcastle University to create the first "three-parent" IVF embryos by merging the genetic mateeases rial of two eggs and a sperm as early as next year.