Press Office


Pioneering IVF technique discussed on Mumsnet

Influential website, Mumsnet are running a Q&A about a new IVF technique which, if approved, could stop children from inheriting severe diseases by replacing faulty DNA with genetic material from a donor.

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.

The government has launched a public consultation so that everyone has a chance to share their views about this.  And they’ve been hearing 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 Professor Doug Turnbull, who has developed the technique at Newcastle University and Susan Golombok, a University of Cambridge expert on the impact on families of using techniques such as IVF, to answer your questions.

Read the Q and A on Mumsnet which has been backed by the Wellcome Trust and have your say in the consultation about whether the technique should be supported.

If you would like to have your say on whether the technique should be allowed in the UK then you can read more about the consultation and also write to the HFEA.

published on: 17 October 2012