Three-way IVF, artificial testicles and why the Army may run an A&E department
A round-up of the health news in the papers for Friday 20 January
The possibility of ‘three-parent IVF' came a step closer yesterday after the Department of Health asked the fertility regulator to conduct a public consultation into its acceptability, according to the Independent.
The procedure, currently banned in the UK, is aimed at helping the estimated 12,000 people who are living with mitochondrial disease, the paper says.
The proposed procedure involves removing the nucleus from an affected woman's egg, transferring it to the shell of an egg provided by a female donor who has healthy mitochondria, and then fertilising it with the sperm of the affected woman's partner.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that an artificial testicle that produces human sperm to help solve male infertility has been given the go-ahead.
To make the artificial testicle, team from San Francisco will have to develop a technique to grow human sperm cells. They plan to use a man's embryonic stem cells 'fortified' with genes to steer them into becoming reproductive cells that could then be used in IVF.
Away from reproductive medicine, the Daily Telegraph leads on the possibility of the army being used to keep a trust's A&E department open amid a shortage of doctors.
The A&E unit in Pontefract has been closed from 10pm to 8am every day since November because Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has not been able to hire enough experienced staff. This is due to a national shortfall of mid-ranking doctors, with one in four places unfilled, the Telegraph says.
Councillor Betty Rhodes, chair of Wakefield council's social care and health scrutiny committee, said members were ‘surprised' when the trust informed them of its approach to the Army to provide medical staff, according to the Telegraph.
The Telegraph also picks up on a Daily Mail story about the retired GP on a £140,000 a year pension. A Freedom of Information request carried out by the Mail revealed 20 GPs receiving £100,000 or more on retirement.