Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Three Genetic Parents?

The UK's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority is conducting a public consultation on the question of whether they ought to permit the creation of children with three genetic parents. The question is about a new assisted reproductive technology that could prevent children from suffering from diseases carried in mitochondrial DNA. In essence, the fertility clinic would fertilize an egg, and then remove the genetic material from that egg and pop it into a de-nucleated egg from a donor. The result would be an embryo with Mom and Dad's nuclear DNA, but with mitochondrial DNA from Donor--free from any mitochondrial diseases of which Mom is a carrier.

I'm not actually bothered by this. While having three genetic parents is something new, surrogacy has given us many children with three biological parents (egg Mom, sperm Dad, and surrogate Mom--who, make no mistake, makes some serious contributions to the basic makeup and future health of the child, via hormonal and epigenetic influences, diet, gestational environment, and so on). And after all, what will we call the child of this high-tech intervention, with her three different pro-genitors?


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