Life is gravely concerned at news this morning that The Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority has approved the use of mitochondrial replacement therapy which produces children born with three parents.
Life Spokesman Mark Bhagwandin said “Despite the thousands of people who have written to the HFEA and sounded alarm bells, it has decided to approve a procedure which will alter the human genome. The HFEA says it is a cautious decision. However this genetic modification of human beings, is very uncertain and potentially dangerous. There is nothing cautious about the HFEA ruling. 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 a few months ago one study on mice showed that this therapy could influence metabolism and aging. It has also already been acknowledged by scientists that there is a risk of the original “defective mitochondria” still entering the modified embryo. The therapy, only trialled in animals so far, could therefore fail.
Whilst we are deeply sympathetic to the plight of people with mitochondrial related diseases, the ends does not always justify the means. We would encourage and support greater investigation and research into ethical remedies which do not seek to genetically modify human beings.”