Green light for mitochondrial donation

Clinics can now apply for a licence to carry out mitochondrial donation treatment, following today's decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

"This is a landmark day for people living with mitochondrial disease," said Wellcome's Director Jeremy Farrar.

The HFEA announced its decision to allow UK clinics to apply for a licence to carry out mitochondrial donation following a public meeting to discuss the latest evidence about its safety and efficacy. 

Mitochondrial donation is an IVF technique that gives families affected by mitochondrial disease the chance of having healthy children. 

Wellcome has played a key role in supporting mitochondrial donation by:

"It’s right there has been such a thorough process to get to this stage," said Jeremy Farrar. "Our long-term support for the science, and close coordination with patient groups, policy makers and regulators have been critical in reaching today’s outcome.

"We must recognise, though, that for some affected families this decision may have come too late. The scientific community must continue to work closely with policy and the regulatory system so future innovative, cutting-edge techniques reach patients faster."

Last week we announced renewed funding for the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, and – subject to a successful licence application – we plan to support the research programme for the long-term follow-up of any children born following mitochondrial donation. 

Timeline of key events in the licensing of mitochondrial donation