Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook


Human Clinical Embryology and Assisted Conception MSc


 

HFEA grants first UK licence to carry out mitochondrial donation

20 March 2017

By Georgia Everett

Appeared in BioNews 893

Doctors at Newcastle Fertility Centre have been granted the first UK licence to use mitochondrial donation as a fertility treatment to prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial disease.

The technique, which involves the creation of an embryo derived from the mother, father and a healthy female mitochondrial donor, was approved for clinical use by the  Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in December 2016, but the Newcastle group is the first to have a licence approved by the regulator.

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle said: 'We are delighted by today's decision as it paves the way offering mitochondrial donation as part of an NHS-funded package of care for families affected by mitochondrial disease.

'Newcastle is a major referral centre for the women with mitochondrial DNA mutations in the UK and it will be hugely welcomed as it provides them reproductive choice.'

Mitochondrial donation is used when a mother is at risk of transmitting a mitochondrial disease to any naturally-conceived offspring. To prevent the inheritance of faulty mitochondria in the mother's egg, the nuclear material is removed after fertilisation and placed into a fertilised donor egg which contains healthy mitochondria, and implanted to develop as a healthy fetus.

The Newcastle centre anticipates treating up to 25 women per year who are at a very high risk of transmitting mitochondrial disease, which is often debilitating and often fatal. Consequently, they are looking for healthy women under the age of 35 who would be willing to donate their eggs.

The HFEA granted the licence after Newcastle Fertility Centre put forward an application proving that it had the high-quality equipment, staff and expertise to offer mitochondrial donation, particularly considering the fertility technique was developed by scientists in Newcastle.

Many influential members of the scientific community have spoken out, praising the HFEA's decision. Dr Simon Fishel, managing director of CARE Fertility, told The Telegraph: 'This is excellent news, especially for those patients in the UK who have been waiting for this opportunity… it is indeed a step in the right direction following in-depth debate and consideration of all issues from the medical science to the ethics.'

Dr Meenakshi Choudhary, head of the mitochondrial donor programme at Newcastle Fertility Centre, also added: 'Women of the northeast who donated their eggs for the pre-clinical research deserve a special mention, without whom we would not have been able to see it reach this milestone.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
The Guardian | 16 March 2017
 
HFEA (statement) | 16 March 2017
 
Newcastle University (press release) | 16 March 2017
 
The Telegraph | 16 March 2017
 
BBC News | 16 March 2017
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

03 April 2017 - by Helen Robertson 
Details of the world's first successful use of mitochondrial replacement therapy in IVF have been published...

23 January 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A baby has been born in the Ukraine following the use of an experimental IVF procedure known as mitochondrial donation...
19 December 2016 - by Annabel Slater 
The UK has become first country in the world to formally approve the creation of IVF embryos through mitochondrial donation...
05 December 2016 - by Dr Julia Hill 
Scientists advising the HFEA have recommended that the technique of mitochondrial replacement therapy be approved for clinical use in the UK...
31 October 2016 - by Georgia Everett 
Seventeen children conceived through ooplasmic transplantation have all matured with regular health and cognitive abilities, according to a study...
03 October 2016 - by Dr Julia Hill 
In a world first, the birth of a baby boy who was conceived using mitochondrial donation has been reported...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation