7 November 2019

Mitochondrial Donation via IVF

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Written by

IVF Australia

Virtus Health, leading fertility specialists (including Queensland Fertility Group, IVFAustralia, Melbourne IVF and TasIVF) are actively engaged in the consultation process with the NHMRC to ensure the best outcomes for our patients and their families. As pioneers in the field of reproductive care and genetics, we are excited about the possibility of offering a much needed treatment alternative to the women of Australia.

In Australia about 1 in 250 people will carry a mitochondrial genetic defect, not all of these people will develop the illness, however the risk of developing serious illness in the general population is about 1 in 5,000 and one child a week is born in Australia with a mitochondrial condition - rare conditions but debilitating.

Mitochondrial mutations can cause multi-organ failure and fatal heart, liver and muscle conditions. Women who have 'bad' mitochondria pass this on to their children. The aim of any research in this area would be to remove defective genes and replace them with healthy DNA from a donor.

IVFAustralia is not undertaking this research. However, the health implications of these sorts of diseases are serious and we would welcome Australia's research community the ability to investigate further.

In Australia scientists are banned from using the DNA of more than two people in any research.

The NHMRC is facilitating public consultation on mitochondrial donation, the public consultation is open until November 29, see www.nhmrc.gov.au/mito.

For more information about Mitochondrial Disease contact the Australia Mitochondrial Disease Foundation www.amdf.org.au/.