License clears the way for three-person babies

A group of doctors in Newcastle has been granted the first U.K. license to perform IVF procedures that involve three donors, reports The Guardian.

The technique is intended for use in cases where the mother's mitochondrial DNA will likely pose threats to the health, and possibly life, of a baby.

Female parents can pass along a number of mitochondrial diseases that cause babies to experience a bevy of adverse health conditions, notes CNN.

Those include seizures, muscle weakness, diabetes, learning disabilities, blindness, and failure of the liver and the heart.

The corrective method, which was approved in December, replaces the unhealthy mitochondria in an embryo with healthy material from a female donor.

As that is the only genetic material altered, the children born retain the physical and behavioral traits of the parents.

According to the BBC, the doctors who were awarded the license to use the technique in their practice say they could perform as many as 25 procedures per year.

They anticipate the first birth involving the technique will occur in 2018.

Learn more about in vitro fertilization:

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History of in vitro fertilization
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History of in vitro fertilization
1st March 1969: Dr Robert Edwards with his team at Cambridge in the early days of research into in vitro fertilisation. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 15: Doctors perform a laparoscopy on a woman August 15, 1988 in preparation for in vitro fertilization. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
Louise Brown (top) from England, the first in-vitro baby born 15 years ago, hugs other children born with the help of in-vitro fertilization during a get together at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital to promote the program 05 October 1993. With Brown, from L to R, are Laura Valenti, 2, Phoebe Maddox, 2, and Monica Hendricks, 5. (Photo credit should read RACHEL COBB/AFP/Getty Images)
Nepalese nurses care for the countries first test-tube twin babies (C) at the In-Vitro Fertilization Centre of Om Hospital near Kathmandu 04 March 2005. Kumudini Koirala gave birth to twince baby boys weighing 2.7kg and 3kg respectively. The births came as good news for Nepal, which has been in a state of crisis since King Gyanendra seized power on 01February, and launched a crackdown on the independent media amid an increasingly deadly Maoist insurgency. AFP PHOTO/DEVENDRA M SINGH (Photo credit should read DEVENDRA M SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Lehman Best holds a photo of the couple's two healthiest embryos before in vitro fertilization at North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine in Cary on Friday, October 12, 2007. Best jokes about 'little Lehman and Lanelle' as he cradles the photo of the embryos. (Photo by Juli Leonard/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
NANTES, FRANCE - MARCH 23: Staff work in a hospital on March 23, 2011 in Nantes, France. The center of medically assisted procreation Hospital of Nantes is the first center in France to benefit from renting an Embryoscope for conducting an international collaborative study. The Embryoscope consists of an incubator to receive the embryo; in the incubator a microscope is installed to continuously visualize the development of the embryo on the computer screen. Instead of leaving the embryo in the incubator for observation under the microscope as it is today, this very high-tech equipment meets all the conditions necessary for its cultivation by guaranteeing a stable environment. Embryoscope is developed by the Danish company Unisense Fertilitech and should improve the chances of success of IVF. The center of medically assisted procreation from Nantes hospital performs each year about 1,100 attempts at in vitro fertilization, which places it among the top ten French centers. (Photo by Alain DENANTES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
A technician works on in vitro fertilization (IVF) for livestock in the genetic research and development center at the Blanca From The Pyrenees dairy farm, partnered with Ponderosa Holsteins, in Els Hostalets de Tost, Spain, on Thursday, June 4, 2015. Global production of milk, cheese and butter will rise to records this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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