July 5, 2022

HFEA finds mitochondrial transfer ‘not unsafe’

The peak UK IVF regulatory body has published its findings on the controversial new procedure known as mitochondrial replacement therapy.

The peak UK IVF regulatory body has published its findings on the controversial new procedure known as mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT). The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) cautiously labeled the procedure “not unsafe”. In a 56-page document the HFEA surveys the progress of academic research into the MRT, and suggests that it could be safe to conduct clinical trials 18 to 24 months.

“At each stage of the review process the panel reached a view that the evidence it has seen does not suggest that these techniques are unsafe”, the report states.

Mitochondrial replacement therapy has the potential to prevent serious congenital diseases by removing mutant DNA from the mitochondria of embryos.

Some remain concerned about the safety of embryos who will first be experimented on. In an article published in Public Discourse in March, University of Utah stem cell scientist Maureen Condic warned of genetic complications in the therapy:

“All three [methods of ‘mitochondrial transfer’] are highly likely to be unsafe for the resulting children, even the ones that are not deliberately destroyed and are not damaged by the procedure itself.”

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