National consultation launched today in Adelaide
NHMRC is inviting all Australians to provide their views on the use of a new assisted reproductive technology that might assist in preventing certain rare mitochondrial diseases, but which requires careful ethical and social consideration. Consultation is open until 29 November. An issues paper is available at www.nhmrc.gov.au/mito.
Today in Adelaide, NHMRC is holding its first major event of the consultation – a citizens’ panel. Around 20 citizens randomly selected from across Australia will meet over two weekends to hear from experts and then prepare their own position statement.
The experts presenting to the panel are available for interview, as are people affected by mitochondrial disease.
Mitochondrial donation might be able to assist in the prevention of mitochondrial DNA disease in an estimated 60 births per year in this country. However, there are social and ethical issues to consider including:
- using mitochondrial DNA from a donor (using IVF technology) so that the child has DNA from three people
- the rights of children to know their full genetic heritage
- the potential risks and benefits of the technology, and
- the implications for future generations.
Mitochondrial donation is in limited use in the UK and some other countries, but not Australia. NHMRC is asking the Australian community to consider the social and ethical issues associated with mitochondrial donation and will then provide advice to the Australian Government.
Details on further events will be provided in future announcements.
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NHMRC Media Team
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