Three-person IVF: Your stories

The UK is in line to become the first country to allow an IVF technique using DNA from three people, in a bid to eliminate serious genetic disorders.

The government backed the IVF technique and will produce draft regulations later this year. The procedure could be offered within two years.

Experts say three-person IVF could stop potentially fatal mitochondrial diseases being passed from parents to children while opponents say this procedure is unethical.

BBC News website readers who are affected by this story share their experiences.

Nick Mitford, Newtownards, Northern Ireland

Image caption Nick Mitford and his daughter Daisy

We lost our two-year-old son, Noah, in January 2012 to an extremely rare form of mitochondrial disease.

His heart and brain tissue were affected, and in the end he succumbed to a simple tummy infection that his body couldn't deal with. My wife was 37 weeks pregnant with our second child when he died.

Our daughter has a one-in-four chance of having the same condition, which she would not survive beyond infancy.

We are living in a state of complete limbo and must wait to see (there is no test for this type of mitochondrial disease at present) whether Daisy (our daughter) will survive.

The staff at Newcastle have helped us immensely. Of course, this condition means that both me and my wife's DNA carries the mutated gene causing the problem, although we are only carriers.

This type of treatment would allow families like ours to have more children, safe in the knowledge they will not be affected.

If Daisy is OK, we wouldn't have any more kids anyway. We are 40 and 39.

It's not about creating a designer baby. It's about eradicating something which will harm a child. It's changing things at a very very cellular level. It is making sure the battery pack works.

It can only be a good thing. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard this news today.

Colleen Morrison, Harlow, UK

This proposal is horribly evocative of Nazi eugenics which sought to weed out those with disabilities.

I have a disability, I've been severely-to-profoundly deaf since childhood, thanks to my family's genetic make-up. I nevertheless own a business employing many local people, I'm an active community volunteer and political and environmental campaigner and co-founded a local physiotherapy and self-help group for people with multiple sclerosis.

Is my life worthless? Am I a second-class citizen, fit only for the scrap heap because I have a disability? That's what this proposal seems to suggest.

If these eugenic procedures had been around when my mother became pregnant with me, I would almost certainly have been aborted. So I view this proposal with horror.

I am deeply concerned that this represents an ethical shift towards a eugenics perspective that rejects anyone who is not apparently 'perfect'.

My view is that proposals of this nature unjustly challenge the right of people with disabilities to exist, when what we should really be challenging are the misperceptions of disability that limit those who have disabilities and the artificial social limits we place on them.

What exactly is this artificial 'perfection' scientists and governments strive for? The concept is a social and political construction that, in truth, is meaningless.

Patricia Grafham, Enniscorthy, Irish Republic

I am living in Ireland but originally from the UK. All my family are still living in the UK.

My family, from my mother to my grandchildren, have been devastated by a mitochondrial disease, MELAS.

It is like living with a ticking time bomb. My daughter suffers the most. She got very sick in her thirties.

She has been changed from a working mother of two boys to someone who has to have everything done for her and struggles to communicate. She needs a 24-hour team of carers.

Her boys now live with their father who left her because of the condition.

Her boys are also showing signs of this degenerating illness. My second daughter has some degree of the disorder, and my mum had it too.

I challenge anyone who opposes this life-changing procedure to spend some time living with someone whose life has been completely devastated by it.

It is not about having a designer baby, it is about eliminating a degenerating illness.

More comments

I have no ethical stance against the idea of three-person IVF but I do wonder if it is a complete waste of resources. There are so many children denied a loving home because they were born to the wrong parents. Me and my partner have decided to adopt rather than have our own children because while we want to have a family, we don't have any particular urge to add to an already overcrowded planet. Rachel, Somerset, UK

I am horrified that this is being thought of. It is like changing someone's brain because he is unwanted and unloved for someone else's brain who is wanted. That is what is ethically unacceptable! Evelyne, Abu Dhabi, UAE

I see this method of IVF as simply donation of healthy organelles, which just happen to code for their own proteins in the same way human nuclei code for their cells' functions. 'Three person IVF' is a misleading and unhelpful media rhetoric for naming a technique that will help many families to conceive healthy children. And I view that as no more selfish than anyone else wanting their own, biological, healthy child. Emily, Nottingham, UK

My baby boy died on 28th May 2013 aged 19 days. He was born with a metabolic condition. Two out of three of the tests they do on the muscle that they take came back positive for mitochondrial disease. I have a seven-year-old daughter who is healthy. GOSH are continuing tests on me and my husband and also from the post-mortem they did on Finley, our lovely little boy, to give us answers as to why he was born so sick. To hear that there is some way you can be given a healthy child is better than winning the lottery. Clare Sumner, Essex, UK

My mother suffered from a condition called MELAS, which is passed on by defective mitochondrial genes. She passed it on to me, unknowing, and almost every day, I wonder just what my future holds. Last Monday, I suffered a fit at work as a result of this condition. This was by no means the first such fit I have suffered, nor do I believe that it will be the last. If there is a way of eliminating this disease, and the many others behind it, we should be doing everything within our power to do so. If this treatment offers a way to spare even one person a life such as mine, it will be worth it. Chris, Bradford, UK

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