Britain says yes to 3-parent babies

The U.K. will soon allow doctors to create babies from the DNA of three different people. It will be the first country to do this. British lawmakers voted 382-128 for the idea. Doctors say three-person babies will stop diseases passing from a mother to her newborn baby. As many as 150 babies a year could be born using the new technique. The first baby to be born using the DNA from three people could be born next year. The technique will help prevent an incurable disease that affects about one in 6,500 children worldwide.

The technique is simple. It combines the parents' DNA with the DNA of a female donor who does not have the disease. Doctors replace the unhealthy DNA in the mother's egg with healthy DNA from the donor. The baby receives about 0.1 per cent of its DNA from the donor. Lawmakers said this was "light at the end of a dark tunnel" for many families. Britain's Prime Minister said: "We're not playing God here. We're just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one." Critics say the technique could lead to the genetic modification of children and "designer babies".