British lawmakers cleared the way for a controversial IVF treatment that could see Britain become the first country to allow the birth of a baby having three parents.
The technique involves removal of defective mitochondria from the mother's egg and replacing it with material from the donor egg, with the resultant baby effectively having two mothers and one father. The British government revealed that it will be publishing draft regulations later this year and if it is regulated by the end of next year, then the first baby to have three parents could be born by 2015.
The technique has stoked controversy as it will be the first time that the 'germ line' of inherited DNA from the mother will be altered, with critics stating that it could be used for the creation of designer babies.
However the Government's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies rejected the notion, claiming that the technique did not alter the fundamental DNA which will determine a baby's appearance, such as facial features or eye color.
"Scientists have developed ground-breaking new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on, bringing hope to many families seeking to prevent their future children inheriting them. It's only right that we look to introduce this life-saving treatment as soon as we can. What we're going to do now is start to develop the regulations, to consult on the regulations, and then to take them into Parliament", Davies said.