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Review welcomed as “a step closer to reproductive choice"

A ground-breaking IVF technique developed by experts at Newcastle University, to reduce the risk that babies born will have mitochondrial disease is a step closer after a thorough scientific review.

The team at Newcastle University and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who are preparing to apply for a licence, have welcomed the findings of the expert review of mitochondrial donation techniques.

The independent expert panel, convened by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has found the techniques are now at an acceptable stage for cautious clinical use and these findings will be considered by the HFEA in December.

The UK became the first country to approve laws to allow the use of the pioneering   technique to reduce the risk of mitochondrial diseases, however, further scientific analysis was called for.

Reproductive choice

Reacting to the review Professor Doug Turnbull, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University said: "This is obviously great news and I agree with the report conclusions. They have considered the evidence in great detail and their conclusion that ”it is appropriate to offer mitochondrial donation techniques as clinical risk reduction treatment for carefully selected patients” is entirely appropriate given the evidence. 

“I also completely agree with importance that there is long term follow up of any children born. 

"I think the report highlights the very careful way in which the UK has proceeded with this new IVF technique and hope the HFEA approve this at their meeting in December.

"This gives women who have mitochondrial DNA mutations reproductive choice and I am delighted for them.

"We have been working closely with NHS England to develop care pathways which ensure that women with mitochondrial DNA mutations will have access to advice about the available techniques, pathway for mitochondrial donation itself and the subsequent care of the mothers through pregnancy, pathway for mitochondrial donors, and pathway for the long-term follow up of children born."

For the full article please visit the Newcastle University Website.

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