January 27, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

3-parent IVF

3 min read

Today a new Nature paper from Dr. Mary Herbert’s group in the UK has found a key problem with mitochondrial replacement therapy that fits with data from others. The goal of preventing mitochondrial disease using various kinds of genome transfer technologies is a noble one, but mitochondrial replacement therapy has faced a number of technological challenges including perhaps most prominently the carryover and subsequent amplification of diseased mitochondria. This mitochondrial replacement carryover issue was clearly defined in an excellent recent Cell Stem Cell paper …Read More

5 min read

An important new Cell Stem Cell paper from Dieter Egli’s lab points to an inherent, serious problem with so-called 3-person IVF or mitochondrial replacement technology that warrants putting an immediate hold on all efforts to use it in humans. I have pasted the graphical abstract from the paper below. For years a few of us scientists and policy groups have argued strongly that this experimental technology is far too risky to try in humans for reproductive efforts in the near future. There were simply not enough …Read More

5 min read

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), Engineering, and Medicine here in the US recommends a policy significantly more cautious on first read for 3-person IVF than that in place now in the UK. My initial take on this new 164-page report is that it is very well thought out and the recommendations are both appropriate and prudent. I’m still reading the report so it is possible I may feel differently at the end or that others may point out concerns …Read More

2 min read

On Monday, I’ll be doing another Reddit AMA, this time on 3-person IVF also known as 3-parent IVF, mitochondrial transfer, 3-parent babies, etc. You can see the upcoming AMAs including mine listed in the right sidebar here. Mine will start at 10AM PST/1PM EST. I hope to discuss with a wide audience all the key issues surrounding this exciting, but highly controversial technology just legalized in the UK. I will answer as many questions as possible. Here’s what the AMA intro will say: Science …Read More

2 min read

With the House of Lords vote yesterday, the UK officially became the only country in the world to have legalized human genetic modification via 3-Person IVF. The point of this “mitochondrial transfer” or “3-person IVF” technology is not directly to genetically modify humans specifically, but it still will lead to that result in any case. The noble goal of this experiment is to prevent mitochondrial disease, but it is not quite that simple as the children produced (if any healthy children are produced) would …Read More

2 min read

What is one to do when the equivalent of the Surgeon General of the UK calls one’s concerns about something, in this case 3-person IVF, “bunk”? It sure gave me some pause. What’s going on? First, some brief background. The debate over 3-person IVF/mitochondrial transfer technology has been getting more heated. The epicenter for the discussion is the UK where the technology is part way through getting Parliamentary approval. In fact, it could be approved by the House of Lords as soon as tomorrow after it …Read More

2 min read

NatureNews is a science news outlet so I’ve been wondering what the heck the deal is with their strongly biased news coverage of the mitochondrial transfer 3-person IVF technology debate. By way of context, I like NatureNews and am a regular reader, but their coverage of the mitochondrial transfer debate has been completely one-sided and inaccurate. Their two so-called news pieces on this have been extraordinarily biased in favor of the UK going ahead with the technology. Let’s take the first one entitled, “Scientists cheer vote to allow three-person …Read More

4 min read

It’s been somewhat of a helter-skelter time for the new technology often referred to as 3-person IVF or mitochondrial transfer as the UK considers whether to legalize this experimental technology for use in humans. I believe that this technology is not ready now for use in humans and for more background on why as well as other opinions you can see articles here. The admirable goal of this experimental 3-person IVF approach is to prevent transmission of mitochondrial diseases from mother to child, but …Read More

1 min read

I ran a poll asking readers of this blog about their view of 3-parent IVF also known as mitochondrial transfer technology. The poll got 166 responses over a few days. The results are in and they are surprising to me at least. They trend toward some level of support rather than opposition to approval of this technology, but the greatest number of respondents wanted more data first before it proceeds. Frankly, I thought originally that the poll would show that “Strong support” would get …Read More