Muscular dystrophy and related conditions cause muscles to waste and weaken. More than 70,000 people in the UK are affected.
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Wednesday 10 July 2013

Mitochondrial transfer IVF moves a step closer to the clinic

Last week the government announced plans to draft new regulations that would move mitochondrial transfer IVF - a technique developed by Muscular Dystrophy Campaign-funded researchers - one step closer to the clinic. 

The technique may have the potential to stop mitochondrial disease being passed on from a mother to her children, and could give women with severe mitochondrial disease the choice to have healthy children.

This topic was widely covered by national TV and press and Muscular Dystrophy Campaign supporter Rachel Kean, who is among the group of women with mitochondrial disease who would potentially benefit, spoke about her personal experience of mitochondrial disease, and why she would support the introduction of the technique. Watch Rachel on Channel 4 News.

Rachel said "It's not just about women with mitochondrial disease being able to bear their own children - I would happily consider adopting or fostering a child. It is about having reproductive choice, and above all it is about preventing the transference of mitochondrial disease wherever possible. For some families, this technique may have the potential to halt the suffering that these brutal diseases have inflicted across generations.

"I see it as something quite amazing that we may have the potential to reduce the number of people affected by these devastating conditions in our lifetime. It is something to be celebrated."

The Government will hold a public consultation on the draft regulations, which will start later this year. At the same time, a scientific review of the techniques will be carried out. If the results of the consultation and review are positive, the regulations would be put before Parliament where MPs are likely to be given a free vote on whether to allow the techniques to move forward. 

Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign said: "It is extremely positive news that the Government has responded to public support for this IVF technique and has decided to draft new regulations, bringing it one step closer to clinical trial. We may now be on the path to offering women living with extremely cruel, unpredictable and devastating conditions the invaluable choice of bearing their own, unaffected children.

"There is still work to be done in developing the technique, but both the commitment and funding are available to take it forward. We now urge the Government to move with haste to draft regulations to share with the public."

Read more about mitochondrial IVF transfer. If you have any questions about mitochondrial transfer IVF, please email research@muscular-dystrophy.org.

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