Germline gene editing is not explicitly regulated, but a law from 1997 prohibits the fertilization of human eggs for any purposes other than reproduction. This has been interpreted as prohibiting the use of embryos for research, including gene editing.
The Ministry for Health is responsible for regulating human gene editing research. The General Law on Health prohibits embryo research and violations can result in up to six years of imprisonment. The Office of Scientific and Technological Information for the Congress of the Union recommended changes to the country’s General Health Law in 2019, including suggesting that all clinical uses of CRISPR be regulated and supervised. No changes or updates have been made to the law yet.
In 2016, a baby whose parents were Jordanian was born in Mexico using a controversial technique called mitochondrial replacement (aka ‘three parent baby), which can help avoid certain mitochondrial genetic diseases. Researchers from the New Hope Fertility Center in the US performed the procedure in Mexico because mitochondrial replacement therapy is not specifically regulated or banned. The UK is the only country that has officially approved the procedure.
- “Three-parent baby”: New Hope Fertility Center researchers used mitochondrial replacement therapy, popularly known as ‘three-parent IVF’, to protect an infant from a fatal genetic disease.
2019: Office of Scientific and Technological Information for the Congress of the Union recommends changes to the country’s General Health Law, including suggesting that all clinical uses of CRISPR be regulated and supervised.
2016: First ‘three-parent’ baby born produced by mitochondrial-replacement therapy.
1997: General Law on Health passed, which prohibits the fertilization of human eggs for any purposes other than reproduction, including gene editing research.
Researchers raised ethical concerns about the ambiguity of Mexico’s gene editing legislation after a baby developed through mitochondrial replacement therapy was born to a Jordanian couple in Mexico in 2016. The operation was performed by a US-based team, prompting widespread criticism for choosing to perform the operation in Mexico to dodge regulations, and prompted calls for clearer, tighter regulation.