Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Rebecca Carr


mitochondrial disease treatments, mitochondrial DNA transfer techniques, inheritable mitochondrial DNA disorders


The UK Parliament has approved regulations, which come into force in October 2015, that permit the use of new treatment techniques to prevent the transmission of serious mitochondrial diseases from women to their children. The introduction of these techniques—which are not currently carried out in any country in the world—will fly in the face of the opposition that has been raised since discussions to permit clinical applications of the techniques first arose. After outlining some background to the techniques, this article briefly examines three of the objections that have been made against them: that the safety and effectiveness of the procedures have yet to be proven; that the procedures would have an adverse socio-ethical impact; and that the procedures are prohibited in international law. None of these objections are as strong as they appear to have been suggested. Indeed, the UK Parliament’s approval of the regulations should be welcomed.