Introduction or background: The UK is at the forefront of mitochondrial science and is currently the only country in the world to legalize germ-line technologies involving mitochondrial donation. However, concerns have been raised about genetic modification and the 'slippery slope' to designer babies.
Sources of data: This review uses academic articles, newspaper reports and public documents.
Areas of agreement: Mitochondrial donation offers women with mitochondrial disease an opportunity to have healthy, genetically related children.
Areas of controversy: Key areas of disagreement include safety, the creation of three-parent babies, impact on identity, implications for society, definitions of genetic modification and reproductive choice.
Growing points: The UK government legalized the techniques in March 2015. Scientific and medical communities across the world followed the developments with interest.
Areas timely for developing research: It is expected that the first cohort of 'three parent' babies will be born in the UK in 2016. Their health and progress will be closely monitored.
Keywords: ethical issues; mitochondrial donation; reproduction.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.