Professor Adam Balen, Chair of the British Fertility Society said:
“Today’s decision by the regulator marks a major milestone in helping families to overcome mitochondrial disease, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives.
“There are many different medical disorders that can be described as mitochondrial disease. They range from mild to severe or life threatening. However, mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from mothers and women can be at risk of passing on serious disease to their children. Preventing the transmission of mitochondrial disease will allow women carrying the mutations to give birth to children free of the disease.
“The treatment, which involves eggs donated from a healthy woman and the transfer of the fertilised nucleus with the genetic material from the mother and father of the affected family, will be carefully regulated and scrutinised by the HFEA.
“Clinics will now need to apply for a licence and the regulator will grant them taking into account each application extremely carefully. Scientists in Newcastle have led the way with this ground-breaking research and the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life is likely to be the sole clinic offering this new technology at first.
“This marks a momentous and historic step and we hope families next year will begin their journey to eradicate these genetic diseases.”