Skip to Content

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


Sam Altman invested $180 million into a company trying to delay death

Can anti-aging breakthroughs add 10 healthy years to the human life span? The CEO of OpenAI is paying to find out.

Forget designer babies. Here’s how CRISPR is really changing lives

The gene-editing tool is being tested in people, and the first treatment could be approved this year.

Neuroscientists listened in on people’s brains for a week. They found order and chaos.

The study shows that our brains exist between chaos and stability—a finding that could be used to help tweak them either way.

More than 200 people have been treated with experimental CRISPR therapies

But at a global genome-editing summit, exciting trial results were tempered by safety and ethical concerns.

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 with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.