London : The first baby with three parents could be born as early as 2015 after a landmark decision in the UK to move ahead on a controversial genetic treatment.
The controversial IVF technique will create babies using DNA from three people, to keep parents from passing genetic diseases to their offspring.
The process will involve replacing defective DNA with material from a donor egg. A Government medical officer, however, said ‘fundamental DNA’ that determines an individual’s make-up such as facial features and eye colour will not be affected.
The officer compared the new techniques to replacing a defective ‘battery pack’ in a cell that would virtually eliminate the chance of a severe disease in the child.
The new regulations in fertility law allowing the new procedures will be issued for consultation and then debated in Parliament.
In case the MPs find the regulations ethically acceptable, the first patients could be treated within months. It is envisaged that between five and 10 three-parent babies would be born in Britain each year.
One expert said, ‘’I am comfortable with this. I think we will save some five to ten babies from being born with ghastly disease and early death without changing what they look like, or how they behave, and it will help mothers to have their own babies.’’
But Dr. David King, director of Human Genetic Alert, a London-based watchdog group, has opposed use of the technique — saying it opened
the door to the creation of “designer babies” — and disputed the results of the public consultation, saying not enough weight has been given to
“These techniques are unnecessary and unsafe and were in fact rejected by the majority of consultation responses,” he said in a statement.
“It is a disaster that the decision to cross the line that will eventually lead to a eugenic designer baby market should be taken on the basis of an utterly biased and inadequate consultation.”