The Churches of England in fifth week of January 2015 opposed the proposed changes to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, 1990 that would allow IVF babies to be born with DNA from three different people. This would be done through a technique called mitochondrial donation.
The Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales are opposing the technique because they are not sure that the technique of adding a donor woman's mitochondria to another woman's egg was safe or ethical.
They are concerned about the safety of the technique as it has not been allowed in any other country and the international scientific community is also not convinced that the procedure is safe and effective.
In terms of ethicality, they say that the procedure involves the destruction of human embryos.
However, a group of scientists have urged Members of Parliament of the UK to approve the technique as it will help stop the deadly mitochondrial diseases.
What is Mitochondrial Donation Technique?
The proposed mitochondrial donation technique developed in Newcastle University involves addition of healthy mitochondria from donor women to an egg from another. Then it is fertilized with one man’s sperm. In this process, mitochondria are passed to a child from the mother.
The technique in practice since 2007 is admired internationally and has affected families by providing healthy children.
Mitochondria are tiny compartments found within cells within the body and create energy rich molecules for the cells. These are known as the powerhouse of the cell as their most crucial role is to convert energy locked in food into energy the cell can use. Currently, about one baby in every 6500 is born with mitochondrial disease.