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Alana Saarinen was born using an IVF process which mixes the genes of three people. It has since been banned in the US and now The Independent can reveal that the fertility clinic involved is investigating the health of Alana and  16 others it helped to be conceived. As MPs prepare to vote on a similar technique that could prevent mothers passing on genetic diseases, the question is: are we ready to become the only country to legalise ‘three-parent babies.

The technique involved mixing the eggs of two women so that the resulting IVF babies inherited genetic material from three individuals.

A private fertility clinic in the United States has launched an investigation into the health of 17 teenagers who were born as a result of a controversial IVF technique that produced the world’s first “three-parent” embryos more than 15 years ago, The Independent can reveal.

The technique – which the US government halted in 2002 – involved mixing the eggs of two women so that the resulting IVF babies inherited genetic material from three individuals in a similar process to that planned in Britain for women carrying maternally inherited mitochondrial disorders.

About 30 IVF babies worldwide are believed to have been born by the technique, known as “cytoplasmic transfer”, including 17 infants at the Saint Barnabas Medical Centre in New Jersey who, until now, have not been checked for any long-term health problems resulting from the technique.

The findings of the follow-up will be keenly scrutinised by Britain’s fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which is charged with making sure that a similar technique called mitochondrial donation is safe.

“We do not know of any follow-up of children born as a result of cytoplasmic transfer but we would certainly want to know the results of such a follow-up,” said an HFEA spokesman.

Written by STEVE CONNOR
Read more at The Independent

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