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The fertility doctor who created the world’s first “three-parent” embryos which led to a woman becoming pregnant with twins has insisted that the technique is safe despite the mother losing both prematurely-born babies.

Jamie Grifo, the programme director of the New York University Fertility Centre, supervised the only IVF treatment that led to a pregnancy with embryos conceived by the same technique being considered by Britain’s fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

The 30-year-old Chinese woman underwent the IVF treatment at the SunYat-Sen University Hospital in Guangzhou, China, and became pregnant in 2003 with triplets after five “three-parent” IVF embryos were transferred into her womb.

Doctors subsequently removed one of the foetuses to give the other two babies a better chance of survival but both these twins died after being born prematurely at 24 and 29 weeks respectively.

When Dr Grifo reported her case at a fertility conference later in 2003, he was widely denounced for carrying out an unsafe experiment of the “three-parent” technique and was prohibited from carrying out further IVF trials.