Skip to Content
Biotechnology

The first women in the UK will undergo a radical ‘three-person’ IVF technique

February 2, 2018

Doctors will use a cutting-edge IVF technique to help two couples have healthy babies.

The news: British regulators have approved the first uses of a technique called mitochondrial replacement therapy in the UK. The approach will use DNA from three people—the parents and a female donor—to avoid passing on a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused by faulty mitochondria.

How it works: Doctors fertilize a woman’s egg with sperm and remove its nucleus, leaving the defective mitochondrial DNA behind. They then inject the nucleus into a hollowed-out donor egg containing only healthy mitochondrial DNA.

US opposition: It’s unlikely the US will follow Britain’s lead anytime soon. Congress has effectively barred research that involves implanting modified embryos in a person. New York fertility doctor John Zhang had to go to Mexico to perform a similar procedure, which resulted in the birth of a seemingly healthy baby boy in 2016.

Deep Dive

Biotechnology

How scientists want to make you young again

Research labs are pursuing technology to “reprogram” aging bodies back to youth.

Human brain cells transplanted into baby rats’ brains grow and form connections

When lab-grown clumps of human neurons are transplanted into newborn rats, they grow with the animals. The research raises some tricky ethical questions.

Inside the billion-dollar meeting for the mega-rich who want to live forever

Hope, hype, and self-experimentation collided at an exclusive conference for ultra-rich investors who want to extend their lives past 100. I went along for the ride.

The debate over whether aging is a disease rages on

In its latest catalogue of health conditions, the World Health Organization almost equated old age with disease. Then it backed off.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.