Press release

Jeremy Farrar comments on Church of England opposition to mitochondrial donation

Dr Jeremy Farrar has commented on the Church of England's opposition to mitochondrial donation.

The Church of England's opposition to the new IVF techniques was first reported in the Daily Telegraph.

On Tuesday 3 February, MPs will vote on whether to amend the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 and legalise mitochondrial DNA transfer.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "Mitochondrial donation raises important ethical questions on which the Church of England can be expected to take a view. But it is remarkable that the Church has pronounced that there has been insufficient scientific study without first asking the Newcastle University scientists who lead this research, the families who stand to benefit, or the Wellcome Trust, which funds it, to explain the science to the Archbishops' Council.

"The Church appears to have ignored the unprecedented independent scrutiny of scientific, ethical and public opinion about mitochondrial donation conducted over the last seven years. All these reviews, conducted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, have revealed broad support, which is why the Government has proposed regulations that would allow families affected by devastating mitochondrial diseases to benefit.

"When they vote on Tuesday, we hope that MPs will place appropriate weight on the conclusions of this internationally-admired process for independently assessing scientific, ethical and public views."