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Concern over potential three parent embryos

The Government's moving forward with plans to make the UK the first country to permit the creation of babies with three genetic parents. Under the proposals an embryo would be created from the DNA of two parents with a small amount from a donor egg added in. It's hoped the technique, which tackles mitochondria, will eliminate various conditions and diseases which are passed from mother to child. Around one in 6,500 babies is born with mitochondrial disorder and they often struggle with problems such as heart and liver disease and respiratory problems. Around 12,000 people in the UK live with these conditions and it's thought the treatment could save the lives of around 10 people each year. The Government says a public consultation showed overall support for the treatment.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

"Scientists have developed ground-breaking new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on, bringing hope to many families seeking to prevent their future children inheriting them.

"It's only right that we look to introduce this life-saving treatment as soon as we can."

Josephine Quintavalle is from the group Comment on Reproductive Ethics. She tells Premier's Paul Hutton she disagrees with the Chief Medical Officer:

Opponents of the treatment have today labelled it unethical and say it could lead to designer babies where parents end up choosing the characteristics they want for their child. Rachel Kean suffers from Melas Syndrome - a disorder this treatment could prevent.

Speaking about this concern she said:

"I think it's very unfounded and quite sensationalist.

"We're not talking about maternal DNA - the characteristics that make us, us. What we're talking about is the battery pack, which would carry down the line healthy mitochondria."

Dr Trevor Stammers is a Christian and a lecturer in Bioethics at St Mary's University. He told Premier's Des Busteed on the News Hour he has other concerns:

Draft regulation for the treatment will be published later in the year as part of a further public consultation. It's expected MPs will then get the opportunity to debate and vote on the issue at a later date.

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