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First baby born from mitochondrial donation

HFEA is yet to approve licensing regime for UK clinics

The world's first birth of a baby born from mitochondrial donation, combining the DNA of three people, has been announced.

The baby was born in Mexico in April 2016 and appears to be healthy, according to doctors who oversaw the treatment.

The UK is to date the only country to license mitochondrial donation techniques which will allow women who carry the risk of serious mitochondrial disease to avoid passing it onto their children. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015 came into force on the 29th October 2015.

Since Parliament approved the introduction of the regulations in February 2015, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has been developing a licensing regime that will allow clinics to apply to use the techniques of pronuclear transfer (PNT) and maternal spindle transfer (MST). Any clinic that applies to perform these techniques will have to provide clear evidence that they have both the staff with the experience to perform them and the equipment to do so. Consideration will also be given to the clinic's plans for follow-up of the children born, so that together we can ensure that patients receiving these new treatments get the best possible care. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis, during which the potential patient's specific circumstances will be taken into account.

Responding to the news from Mexico, an HFEA spokesperson said:

"The independent expert panel convened by the HFEA to assess the safety and efficacy of mitochondrial techniques is aware of this latest development in Mexico, and will be considering it as part of its current deliberations."

For an article concerning the regulations, written by Professor Nils Hoppe and Katy Rensten of Coram Chambers immediately after the approval of the regulations, please click here. For the regulations themselves, click here. For a report in The Guardian of the birth in Mexico, click here.