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New Bioeth. 2018 Apr;24(1):57-73. doi: 10.1080/20502877.2018.1440725.

Scientific and Ethical Issues in Mitochondrial Donation.

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a Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Institute of Neuroscience , Newcastle University , Newcastle upon Tyne , UK.


The development of any novel reproductive technology involving manipulation of human embryos is almost inevitably going to be controversial and evoke sincerely held, but diametrically opposing views. The plethora of scientific, ethical and legal issues that surround the clinical use of such techniques fuels this divergence of opinion. During the policy change that was required to allow the use of mitochondrial donation in the UK, many of these issues were intensely scrutinised by a variety of people and in multiple contexts. This extensive process resulted in the publication of several reports that informed the recommendations made to government. We have been intrinsically involved in the development of mitochondrial donation, from refining the basic technique for use in human embryos through to clinical service delivery, and have taken the opportunity in this article to offer our own perspective on the issues it raises.


ethics; human embryo; maternal spindle transfer; mitochondrial donation; oocytes; pronuclear transfer

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