Britain has just become the first country to allow the creation of three-parent babies. The human embryos would be created from the DNA of three parents and the purpose of the technique is to help parents avoid passing genetically degenerative diseases to their children.
The controversial in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was approved by the members of the parliament’s House of Lords on Tuesday. The main purpose of this technique is to prevent mothers from passing serious inherited health issues, such as muscular dystrophy, heart or brain disorders, but its critics are saying it’s the first step into the creation of designer babies.
Important British medical authorities support the proposal that will bring into the world three-parent babies. Around the world, one in 6,500 children is born with an incurable mitochondrial disease that could be prevented through genetic modification.
Britain’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said that women in Britain should be given the chance to have children without passing on terrible genetic disorders.
The procedure starts with the removal of the nucleus DNA from the egg of a mother and insert it into a donor egg whose also had the nucleus DNA removed. The embryo that results has the nucleus DNA from its parents, but the normal mitochondrial DNA from the donor. So does the child get any genes from the donor? Apparently it does, but it’s less than one percent.
David King, from Britain’s secular Human Genetic Alert, said that the approval of the law that allows the creation of three-parent babies is going to lead to a eugenic designer-baby future.
A strong opponent of the procedure that would create three-parent babies is senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, Wesley Smith. He stated that the procedure would:
Further the commodification of human reproduction. The welfare of future children and the moral health of society must count for more.
As expected, the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, are opposing any artificial reproductive techniques and the British proposal of three-parent babies.
The procedure hasn’t been approved anywhere else in the world. The United States Food and Drug Administration discussed the procedure but it decided that it is too soon to use it in humans. Monkeys have been made using such mitochondrial replacement.
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