Have your say: Mitochondrial Donation

A big thank you to more than one thousand people who kindly responded to my survey earlier this week on mitochondrial donation. Your response was overwhelming, and your comments on both sides of the argument showed how deeply you had considered the issue before replying.

The final result of the poll was as follows:

Should MPs vote to allow mitochondrial donation?
YES: 73%
NO: 27%

In line with this, I voted on Tuesday to support this measure. The vote passed the House of Commons comfortably by 382 votes to 128. It will now go to a vote in the House of Lords before becoming law.

I thought I would just give you a small flavour of the hundreds of comments I received below, on both sides of the argument, which reflect how much thought and care went in to all of the responses that I received:

“As a GP and nurse household, we would support this opportunity to reduce the suffering associated with such devastating diseases. But it must be well regulated, and we feel confident that in UK it would be.”

“I feel that there is not sufficient scientific study or informed consultation into the ethics, safety and efficiency of Mitrochondria transfer. Therefore I support a ‘no vote’.”

“Childbirth is such a happy but stressful time for parents that any procedure that reduces the chances of a genetic disease being passed on to the child is a risk worth taking not only for the parents, but more importantly for the child itself.”

“I think it is not yet clear what other characteristics mitochondrial donation might affect in an individual. Once it is done it cannot be undone and any bad effects will be suffered by all future generations of that line. In this way it is not like tissue donation – which I am happy with. That only affects one individual and dies with them. I think this should not be rushed into and that there should be more debate and more research.”

“As highlighted on this evening’s TV a young woman has had six children, and as I understood, has lost all of them from this condition. How very very sad. A doctor explained this as a ‘slippery slope’. But surely this Bill refers to only to one condition, and should further progress be made in this science that is concerning, then our Parliament should be asked for a further ruling. After all doctors do not make laws.”

“Much as I sympathise with people who are 'at risk' in this respect, I would prefer you to vote against allowing 'donation'. I think it is ethically wrong to interfering with nature in this way. This is despite having two granddaughters who both have a genetic defect. I would prefer more money to be spent on researching/finding a solution to the cause of the genetic fault in the first place.”

“Having a cousin who died in her early 20s from mitochondrial disease and her sister who won't ever have children for fear of passing on this terrible condition and support it.”

Thank you again for all your responses.

Best wishes

Steve Webb MP

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