The UK could become the first country to legalise mitochondrial donation – so called ‘three-person babies – if a vote in the House of Lords today is passed.
Dame Sally Davies has urged the Lords to vote in favour of legislating to allow the treatment to prevent mitochondrial disease.
Dame Sally told the BBC: ‘These children die in the first few months or years of life, because their muscles collapse, their hearts fail, their brains don’t develop and they die. This is tragic.’
And in anticipation of today’s vote, the Telegraph reports that Newcastle University has released adverts offering £500 for women to donate eggs for clinical trials on mitochondrial donation, should the bill be passed.
Newcastle University said it was ‘urgently’ looking for ‘fit, healthy women’ aged between 21 and 35 to donate eggs. It said they would be used ‘either in the laboratory, or used to help someone else have a child.’
Newcastle University is likely to be the first to conduct trials on the new technique, but opponents of the research warn it could lead to women taking unnecessary risks with their health.
And big news in many of today’s papers, as research suggest parents feed their children peanut products from as early as four months to reverse the growing numbers of children with allergies.
The Guardian reports that public health advice to avoid peanuts in early years should be overhauled, after a study by King’s College London found regularly feeding peanuts to under-fives, who were at high risk of developing an allergy, saw just 1% go on to develop an allergy. Compared to 17.5% of high risk children who avoided peanuts.
Prof Gideon Lack, lead author of the study, said: ‘It is fair to say that in part the rise in peanut allergy can be explained by the fact that we have become peanut-avoidant as far as babies and young children are concerned’.