Three parent babies could be created in the UK within months
1 December 2016
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is expected to endorse the results of the report this month. Image: Getty
Media sources are reporting that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is expected to approve the use of mitochondrial replacement therapy this month, meaning the first babies with the DNA from three people could be created by the spring.
The news comes as a scientific report commissioned by the HFEA concluded on Wednesday that the technique should be approved for "cautious clinical use". The HFEA will consider the findings at a meeting on 15 December, and, if it endorses the recommendations, invite fertility clinics to apply for licenses.
Parliament has already legalised the controversial procedure, and one baby has reportedly been born from the technique in Mexico.
Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, one of the researchers who reviewed the evidence, said "We're not going to learn much more now unless you try it out for real basically - it's at that stage."
Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, commented: "The proponents of embryo research have repeatedly held out promises of cures and medical advances in the field of inherited conditions. But the benefits have always failed to materialise, and we suspect that the same is happening again here. The parents of children affected by mitochondrial disease are being exploited to support unethical experiments, based on the false hope that their children will benefit."
Ireland compensates woman who travelled to England to abort baby with life-limiting condition
The Irish government has confirmed that it has offered €30,000 in compensation to a woman who travelled to England to have an abortion after her baby was diagnosed with Edward's syndrome.
The UN Human Rights Committee ruled last summer that Amanda Mellet had suffered “discrimination” and “cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment” due to Ireland’s ban on abortion. The ruling required that she be offered compensation and that Ireland change its laws to allow for abortion in cases of "fatal foetal abnormality".
Although the Health Minister Simon Harris met with Ms Mellet and her legal team to offer her compensation, the Government has not made a commitment to change the law, instead describing the political process currently ongoing.
Legal sources say the payment to Ms Mellet and the UN decision in her favour do not create a precedent that can be relied upon in the Irish courts.
Abortion advocates challenge restrictions in three US states
Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Centre for Reproductive Rights, seeking to overturn restrictions on abortion in three US states.
The move has been described as "the first wave" of lawsuits seeking to defend access to abortion across the US before Donald Trump becomes president.
The cases in Missouri, Alaska and North Carolina take aim at regulations requiring some or all abortions to be performed in hospitals or surgical centres, and in the case of North Carolina a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless there is a medical emergency.
All three lawsuits filed on Wednesday say the states' restrictions are based on medically unnecessary precautions.
The push to defend abortion access comes as a new poll indicates that half of Americans are morally opposed to abortion in most cases. The Washington Post reports that "America's increasingly pro-life attitude may be contributing to a decline in the abortion rate."