It involves taking the DNA out of a woman’s egg that has faulty mitochondria (the ‘batteries’ that give all our cells their energy), and transferring it to a donor egg with healthy mitochondria.
We actively support mitochondrial donation and have driven legislative change to ensure this cutting-edge technique can be used in clinics for the benefit of patients.
As a result of our work, and the work of others, the UK Parliament voted in support of mitochondrial donation in February 2015.
Since October 2015, mitochondrial donation has been licensed and regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for clinical use in the UK.
For more than a decade, we’ve worked to engage with the public, parliamentarians and others about mitochondrial disease and donation.
We’ve provided opportunities for people to explore the techniques and their implications through events and communications.
Our partners have included biomedical and social scientists, ethicists and biomedical research and patient charities.
We’ve provided long-term funding to establish and support researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research(opens in a new tab) at Newcastle University who pioneered the donation technique.
We'll continue to consider applications for research funding related to these technologies.
Our timeline sets out the key dates which led to the licensing of mitochondrial donation.
Researchers in Newcastle are given the first UK licence to carry out mitochondrial donation treatment.
An independent expert panel convened by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to undertake a review of mitochondrial donation techniques(opens in a new tab), recommends cautious adoption of the techniques in the clinic.
Scientists at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research develop a new genetic test for mitochondrial disease which can provide results in 2-3 days.
Published in the journal Nature(opens in a new tab), scientists at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research report the first in-depth analysis of human embryos created using a new technique designed to reduce the risk of mothers passing on mitochondrial disease to their children.
Matt Ridley: The Church is wrong on ‘three parent’ babies(opens in a new tab)
The Times, 2 February 2015
Professor Robert Winston: Don’t let science fall victim to ignorance on DNA transfer IVF(opens in a new tab)
The Telegraph, 1 February 2015
Three parent baby technique no more sinister than blood transfusion(opens in a new tab)
The Telegraph Leader, 1 February 2015
Parliament should approve regulations for mitochondrial donation(opens in a new tab)
The Guardian, 30 January 2015
Three person IVF(opens in a new tab)
The Times, 28 January 2015
UK could be first country to allow three person embryos(opens in a new tab)
BBC News, 17 December 2014
Three-parent IVF ‘will stop diseases being inherited’(opens in a new tab)
The Times, 25 August 2014
Procedure to create babies with three people’s DNA could be legalised in April(opens in a new tab)
The Guardian, 22 July 2014
Beware alarmists warning of slippery slopes(opens in a new tab)
The Times, 14 July 2014
Three-person babies 'in two years' - says science review(opens in a new tab)
BBC News, 3 June 2014
Three parent babies are 'not unsafe' as human trials planned(opens in a new tab)
The Telegraph, 3 June 2014
Genetic treatment using three-parent embryo may be ready in two years(opens in a new tab)
The Guardian, 3 June 2014
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority(opens in a new tab) convenes an Expert Scientific Review panel to assess the effectiveness and safety of mitochondrial donation.