Life is deeply disappointed at news today that despite the thousands of voices of caution raised against the use of Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT), the Human Fertilisation Authority (HFEA) has gone ahead and approved the first licence.
The HFEA has granted the licence to a team in Newcastle which expects to have a baby born from two women and one man by the end of this year.
Life Spokesman Mark Bhagwandin said “We had hoped that the HFEA would have listened to the thousands of people who have expressed concern about three parent embryos. Instead it has ignored the alarm bells and approved a procedure which will alter the human genome. Last year the HFEA said it was making a cautious decision to accept applications. There is nothing cautious about the approval of a licence which will result in the uncertain and potentially dangerous genetic modification of human beings. It is at the very least reckless and irresponsible given that we have absolutely no idea what the long term consequences are to us interfering with the human genome. Just last year a study on mice showed that this therapy could influence metabolism and aging. It has also already been acknowledged by scientists that there is risk of the original “defective mitochondria” still entering the modified embryo and could ultimately fail.
Whilst we are deeply sympathetic to the plight of people with mitochondrial related diseases, the end does not always justify the means. Our understandable search for therapies to help overcome illness and disabilities must be done in an ethical way and balanced against the unconditional acceptance of all human beings, whatever differences they may have. We would encourage and support greater investigation and research into ethical remedies which do not seek to genetically modify human beings.”