Legalising Mitochondrial Donation

Enacting Ethical Futures in UK Biomedical Politics

  • Rebecca Dimond
  • Neil  Stephens

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Rebecca Dimond, Neil Stephens
    Pages 1-25
  3. Rebecca Dimond, Neil Stephens
    Pages 27-45
  4. Rebecca Dimond, Neil Stephens
    Pages 47-67
  5. Rebecca Dimond, Neil Stephens
    Pages 109-130
  6. Rebecca Dimond, Neil Stephens
    Pages 131-142
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 143-147

About this book


In 2015 the UK became the first country in the world to legalise mitochondrial donation, a controversial germ line reproductive technology to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease. Dimond and Stephens track the intense period of scientific and ethical review, public consultation and parliamentary debates preceeding the decision. They draw on stakeholder accounts and public documents to explore how patients, professionals, institutions and publics mobilised within ‘for’ and ‘against’ clusters, engaging in extensive promissory, emotional, bureaucratic, ethical, embodied and clinical labour to justify competing visions of an ethical future. They describe how this decision is the latest iteration of a UK sociotechnical imaginary in which the further liberalization of human embryo research and use is rendered legitimate and ethical through modes of consultation and permissive but strictly regulated licensing. Overall, this book presents a timely, multi-dimensional, and sociological account of a globally significant landmark in the history of human genetics, and will be relevant to those with an interest in genetics, Science, Technology and Society, the sociology of medicine, reproductive technology, and public policy debate.


reproductive technology genetic technology biopolitics socio-legal studies Mitochondrial donation Science-religion Boundary-work Biomedical politics Three-parent babies Sociotechnical imaginaries Enacting ethical futures Bioethics Nuffield Council on Bioethics Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Crispr/Cas9 Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research

Authors and affiliations

  • Rebecca Dimond
    • 1
  • Neil  Stephens
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesCardiff University CardiffUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Social and Political SciencesBrunel University LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information