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Reckless genetics

February 2015

The UK government has announced draft regulations that could see the creation of three-parent children as early as October 2015.

The proposals, introduced by Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, would mean the UK becomes the first country in the world to allow three-parent embryos, through mitochondrial donation.

The hugely controversial proposals were brought in, despite the Secretary of State for Health having commissioned three separate safety reports from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), following intense pressure from lobby groups.

Christian pro-life charity CARE said that many babies born using the new technique will not know the identity of their third parent, which could have a devastating effect on their sense of identity.

Nola Leach, chief executive for CARE, said, ‘These regulations propose making legal procedures that raise profound ethical and identity questions. There are also huge, unanswered safety concerns, highlighted by the fact the Secretary of State for Health has commissioned not one, but three safety reports from the HFEA, all of which have recommended pre-clinical experiments before proceeding’.

Last year, polling conducted by CARE revealed that support for the proposals had fallen away dramatically across the course of the year. In February, 36 per cent of people supported three-parent embryos; in August, just 18 per cent supported it.