The UK lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favour of a contentious law that allowed conceiving of IVF children with DNA from three parents, making Britain the first country in the world to allow such an advanced technology.
The House of Commons voted by 382 to 128 during a historic debate, where the ministers said that the advanced technique was “light at the end of a dark tunnel for families wanting baby”.
The regulations will now be tested in the House of Lords, where the analysts believe it will be passed.
MPs were allowed a free vote on the issue of conscience but both the Conservative and Labour front benches made it clear they believed it was an important scientific step forward that did not amount to genetic modification.
According to the experts, the advanced IVF technique could help in preventing mitochondrial diseases, i.e. deadly genetic ones that are passed from mother to child. However, it will raise serious ethical issues.
The lawmakers gave green signal to the regulation after declining the warnings from some critics who said this was a step towards developing “three-parent” designer babies.
The move has triggered rigorous debate among activists and religious figures. The Catholic and Anglican church leaders are opposing the passage of the law, arguing that the process involves embryo destruction.
According to health agencies, one in 6,500 babies in Britain are believed to suffer from a serious mitochondrial or genetic disorder, which can further lead to severe health issues including heart and liver disease, respiratory problems, muscular dystrophy and blindness.
Health experts say the technique will likely help nearly 150 couples a year.