The Three Parent Fertility Method

Recently, scientific findings have been released saying that DNA swap technology is almost ready for fertility clinic use. Studies show that mitochondrial transfer technology can replace genetic material between unfertilized eggs in a way that could help prevent and reduce childhood diseases. Proponents of this technology say its power could make all the difference in helping make babies healthy. The mitochondrial defects the technology seeks to reduce are estimated to affect 1 in 4,000 children and often cause rare and fatal diseases. Three years ago, a reproductive biologist at Oregon Health and Science University created eggs with donor mitochondria that developed into a healthy monkey. Today, that research lab reports the creation of human embryos in which all the mitochondria come from a donor. Some label this process as the “three-parent baby” fertility technique. (See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9546214/Three-parent-baby-fertility-technique-could-be-made-legal.html). While the UK considers legalizing it the US will be faced with the same issues as well. Such as how the procedure would affect a child’s long-term sense of identity and if they should be allowed to contact the donor later in life – many of the same issues faced by adopted and surrogate children. The legal position against this procedure is that the study destroys human embryos which is barred by law from receiving federal funding. And if this study is nearly reaching a breakthrough the push for funding will likely be large. As with most genetic issues in society today, whether this type of procedure will be passed will be a controversial issue. If procedures allowing human gene-swapping are allowed, the legal implications for other areas of genetic testing could be vast.

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