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Q&A about the ethics of using new IVF techniques to prevent children inheriting incurable genetic conditions - ANSWERS BACK

(52 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Oct-12 11:44:52

We're running a Q&A this week with the Wellcome Trust about the new IVF technique that, if approved, could stop children from inheriting severe diseases by replacing faulty DNA with genetic material from a donor. It's an amazing scientific breakthrough but also a controversial one - there have already been headlines about so-called 'three-parent babies'.

The new technique has been developed specifically to prevent mitochondrial disease, an umbrella term for a number of severe medical disorders caused by genetic mutations in mitochondria (the 'batteries' that power every cell in the body). These disorders include muscular dystrophy, ataxia - and Leigh's disease, a disorder that has killed every one of Sharon Bernardi's seven children.

Scientists at Newcastle University are developing the new technique. It uses IVF technology to transfer genetic material between the mother's egg and a donor egg, to ensure the child won't develop the disease. Only a tiny proportion of the child's DNA - less than 1 per cent - will come from the donor. But some people argue that it shouldn't be permitted because a child born this way would have 'three parents'.

The government has launched a public consultation so that everyone has a chance to share their views about this.  And they would particularly like to hear what Mumsnetters think: should doctors be allowed to use this technique to treat affected families or not?

The Wellcome Trust, a medical research charity which is funding the Newcastle scientists, has invited experts Doug Turnbull (who is developing the technique at Newcastle) and Susan Golombok (a University of Cambridge expert on the impact on families of using techniques such as IVF) to answer your questions.

Post your questions to Doug and Susan before end of Friday 5 October and we'll link to their answers from this thread on 18 October.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 21-Oct-12 23:22:59

Thanks Rachel.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Mon 22-Oct-12 00:44:02

What was the success rate of 'standard' IVF when it first started being used? What about ICSI?

Surely if there is a low success rate to start with for this, it's only because the process hasn't yet been refined, and 20/30 years down the line, the success rate will be much higher?

I have friends that would never have had DC's without IVF, and others that wouldn't have without ICSI.

I also have one friend who has had to watch 3 of her DC's die within the first few months of life due to mitochondrial disease. She will not be having any more DC's. If this would give her one more chance of being a parent, without having to watch her baby die, then I am all for it.

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