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The chief of staff to Tony Abbott turned influential media commentator wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that the new law relating to the prevention of generational disease in IVF children was rushed through parliament without enough public debate.
She raised concern that the law could open the door for ‘designer babies’.
Maeve’s Law – named after six-year-old Maeve Hood – will now allow parents conceiving with IVF to use a donor’s DNA to replace a baby’s mitochondria so it does not inherit generational diseases from the parents.
Political commentator Peta Credlin said the newly passed Maeve’s Law was passed without enough public debate
Maeve’s Law – named after six-year-old Maeve Hood – will now allow parents conceiving with IVF to use a donor’s DNA to replace a baby’s mitochondria so it does not inherit generational diseases from the parents
Mitochondria diseases affect how a person’s cells produce energy which often impacts growth and development, resulting in muscle weakness and chronic fatigue.
Under the new law the third party’s DNA will not change the IVF baby’s physical features – like hair or eye colour.
The law was passed 37 to 17 on a conscience vote in Senate on Wednesday night.
Maeve’s Law will mean couples like Shelley Beverley (left) – who suffers from a mitochondria condition – and her husband (right), 42, will finally be able to have a healthy baby
Mrs Beverley (pictured with her husband) only discovered she had the condition in 2016 after her mother, 63, and brother, 34, died just 16 months apart due to implications of the disease
Mitochondria diseases affect how a person’s cells produce energy which often impacts growth and development, resulting in muscle weakness and chronic fatigue
The passing meant a law prohibiting the use of more than two people’s DNA in IVF had to be amended.
The practice has already been legalised in the UK.
Ms Credlin writes the law was done in a sneaky manner and without enough ‘public debate’.
‘The fact that it was buried in the House of Representatives and only debated in the dying days of this parliament in the Senate tells me everything,’ she wrote.
‘Advocates say this doesn’t open the door to ‘designer babies’ but that’s what is always said every time the law changes to permit things once unimaginable. Next, it will be same sex couples wanting to ensure that both partners’ DNA are included in their IVF children.
Mrs Beverley said the passing of Maeve’s Law was a win for all future parents suffering a mitochondria disease
What is IVF?
‘IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) is a procedure, used to overcome a range of fertility issues, by which an egg and sperm are joined together outside the body, in a specialised laboratory.
‘The fertilised egg (embryo) is allowed to grow in a protected environment for some days before being transferred into the woman’s uterus increasing the chance that a pregnancy will occur.
‘In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) can be used to overcome a range of fertility issues and for many couples, gives them the best chance of having a baby.’
‘They didn’t want us to understand what was happening and what it really means beyond the issue of mitochondria disease.’
Maeve’s Law will mean couples like Shelley Beverley, 37, and her husband, 42, will finally be able to have a healthy baby.
Mrs Beverley told The Daily Telegraph she and her husband had spent $70,000 on IVF treatments but were unable to conceive due to her hereditary mitochondria condition.
Mrs Beverley only discovered she had the condition in 2016 after her mother, 63, and brother, 34, died just 16 months apart due to implications of the disease.
Now Mrs Beverley herself suffers from a heart condition, muscle weakness and diabetes linked to the mitochondria disease.
The first five cycles of the couple’s embryos were tested for the disease and all returned too high of a mutation load to proceed with the treatment.
Now Mrs Beverley is hopeful Maeve’s Law will mean she can finally have the healthy baby her and her husband have dreamed of.
‘It’s a dream come true to see this technology become a reality for patients,’ she said.
‘To have your own child, healthy and free of illness is a basic human right.’
Mrs Beverley told Daily Mail Australia the passing of Maeve’s Law was a win for all future parents suffering a mitochondria disease.
‘It’s a massive achievement for those with mitochondrial disease,’ she said.
‘This new law will finally provide families who carry this disease a choice to use this procedure to stop this from being passed on.’
What is a mitochondria disease (mito)?
‘Mitochondrial disease (mito) is a debilitating genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, causing multiple organ dysfunction or failure.
‘One Australian baby is born every week that will develop a severely disabling form of mito. Sadly, most children diagnosed with mito die in the first five years of life.
‘An estimated one in 200 people, or 120,000 Australians, carry the genetic change that puts them at risk of developing mito, or passing it on to their children.’