Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ Report on Mitochondrial donation: a brief precis

In 2012, Genetics, Reproduction on June 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Today sees publication of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ Report on mitochondrial donation, entitled ‘Novel techniques for the prevention of mitochondrial DNA disorders: an ethical review’, available here. An executive summary is also provided. As a very brief precis, taken from the executive summary, the NCOB Working Party has concluded that

  • Due to the health and social benefits to individuals and families of living free from mitochondrial disorders, and where potential parents express a preference to have genetically-related children, on balance we believe that if these novel techniques are adequately proven to be acceptably safe and effective as treatments, it would be ethical for families to use them, if they wish to do so and have been offered an appropriate level of information and support


  • Given the above and subject to the appropriate oversight, we believe that as a research objective it is ethical to gather further information about pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer in order that they can be considered for treatment use.

The Working Party was also clear that use of mitochondrial donation ‘does not indicate, either biologically or legally, any notion of the child having either a ‘third parent‘, or ‘second mother‘; nor should mitochondrial donors have the same status as gamete donors (ie not to be mandatorily identifiable); and that long-term follow-ups of children born following (future) use of such techniques should be committed to by families, and supported by the creation of a centrally-funded register of these procedures, available to researchers.


  1. […] to reading the outcome of the consultation in 2013. Previous blog posts on this area can be found here, here and (more tangentially) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: