The UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority, gave the green light to the technique in December 2016 and has now agreed to its use by a clinic at Newcastle University.
The technique is known as mitochondrial donation, the in vitro fertilization technique involves replacing faulty mitochondria inherited from the mother with the healthy mitochondria of another woman as a way of preventing mitochondrial disease from being passed on to a child. Sally Cheshire, the fertility regulator’s chair, announced the approval saying:
“I can confirm today that the HFEA has approved the first application by Newcastle Fertility at Life for the use of mitochondrial donation to treat patients’.
Patients will now be able to apply individually to the HFEA to undergo mitochondrial donation treatment at Newcastle, which will be life-changing for them, as they seek to avoid passing on serious genetic diseases to future generations. The facility will now need to apply to conduct the process on a case-by-case basis.