A new IVF technique known as ‘3-parent IVF’ which uses donor eggs to overcome incurable inherited conditions needs more research, says the HFEA.
Mitochondrial disease is incurable and causes a range of conditions including fatal heart problems and brain disorders. The disease – which can only be inherited from the mother - is caused by faulty mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondria is found in every cell in the body and provides the energy cells need to function.
The new technique involves implanting the mother’s fertilised egg’s nucleus, which contains no mitochondrial DNA, into a donated egg which has had its nucleus removed. This means the resulting embryo has the genes of both parents, but the mitochondrial DNA of the egg donor, ensuring no faulty DNA is passed down from the mother to the child.
But the HFEA review has concluded that the technique needs more research comparing its effectiveness and evidence that the embryos develop normally before there can be clinical trials, even though the ways of carrying out the mitochondrial transplants appears safe.
Medical charities and research organisations are now pressing the Government to prepare the necessary legislation to legalise the technique, so it can be used as soon as researchers are happy with it.
New breakthroughs such as this using donor eggs once again shows why it’s so important for the HFEA to change current rules which limit compensation for egg donors to encourage more women to consider it.
Not only can donor eggs give women who aren’t producing any eggs of their own the chance of having a baby, they can also prevent mothers from passing on incurable inherited diseases to their children. If you would consider being an egg donor, visit our FAQs page or call us on 0161 300 2730.