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International Conference 20 Years After Oviedo Convention On Human Rights And Biomedicine

The recent Recommendation of Greek National Bioethics Commission on Mitochondrial Replacement Technologies by Emmanouil Laskaridis

In the last few years, scientific progress in the field of Mitochondrial Replacement Technologies (MRTs) has been rapid. Following a mitochondrial replacement treatment carried out in Mexico, a baby was born in 2016, the first baby to be born after such a procedure. In 2015 the United Kingdom became the first country to explicitly legalize MRTs and to grant in 2017 its first license to a clinic in Newcastle. Bearing these developments in mind, the Greek National Bioethics Commission issued a recommendation on MRTs in 2017, examining relevant bioethical concerns. Among others, the Bioethics Commission stressed that the issue of safety, both for the expected child as well as for the woman that will carry the embryo must be considered a priority. Prior to any clinical applications, there must be satisfactory results from pro-clinical experiments that will guarantee the safety of these techniques. If there are sufficient guarantees for the safety of MRTs in the future, they should only be conducted in specially certified clinics due to their complexity. However, apart from the Commission’s bioethical concerns, questions arise regarding MRTs legality. On a legal level and in accordance with article 13 of the Oviedo Convention, article 34 of the Greek Code of Medical Ethics and article 12 of the Greek Law concerning Medically Assisted Reproduction (Ν.3305/2005), MRTs are lawful only if they do not amount to germline genetic modification.

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