At some point around the fall of 2016, a baby will emerge in Britain who will have a biological mom and dad, plus another biological mom. The British parliament today approved an IVF technique that will produce such "three-parent" babies, reports Reuters. Known more formally as mitochondrial transfer, the technique is designed to help mothers who carry DNA mutations conceive healthy children. The procedure involves replacing a mother's damaged mitochondria in the egg with mitochondria from a healthy woman. The resulting child will get 0.1% of its DNA from the second mom, reports the BBC.
"It would be cruel and perverse in my opinion, to deny them that opportunity for any longer than absolutely necessary," health minister Earl Howe said of families looking to take advantage of the procedure. Critics, however, fear the advent of "designer babies," reports the Telegraph. The next step is to develop rules and regulations, and clinics should be able to begin helping women who qualify get pregnant by the end of this year. Today's move makes Britain the first nation to legalize the method, though the FDA is considering it for the US. (Read more IVF stories.)