On Tuesday Feb. 25 and Wednesday Feb. 26, the FDA will consider a controversial cutting-edge fertility procedure otherwise known as “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease or treatment of infertility.” Despite the hype, the mitochondrial transfer procedures being considered are far from the “creation of three-parent babies.”
Instead, the FDA is finally considering whether it should green-light small clinical trials that could one day enable the thousands of women afflicted with mitochondrial disorders to have a shot at having healthy genetic children. Passions tend to run high in this area. Before the alarm bells start ringing on both sides, it might be helpful to have an overview of what is and is not at stake.
You can learn more about the pros and cons of mitochondrial transfer by listening to the Intelligence Squared Debate, in which I participated, here. It was a great debate and really aired a lot of the issues.