[ View the story "Three-person IVF: Defying disease or reckless research?" on Storify] Three-person IVF: Defying disease or reckless research? The Stream debates the ethics behind the controversial medical practice.
The Stream· Wed, Feb 11 2015 18:20:48
A recent vote to pass a new bill on "three-person" or "three-parent" in vitro fertilisation (IVF) has
controversy. The British Parliament
in favour of
nuclear genome transfer
, an embryonic procedure that uses the DNA from a donor "parent" to conceive a child that would have otherwise inherited defective mitochondria.
3-Parent Babies May Be Coming SoonV3Nm3T-XAgVhKH9jT0ViRg
by a group of researchers at Newcastle University, aims to help mothers who are genetically predisposed to
. These illnesses often lead to loss of motor control, muscle weakness and pain, poor growth, seizures and developmental delays, and other debilitating conditions.
pairing the DNA from both parents with the healthy mitochondria of a female donor. The parents' nucleus is removed from an embryo containing the unhealthy mitochondria, and then deposited into the donor embryo.
Many proponents of the bill
the move as "a light at the end of a dark tunnel" which creates an alternative for women knowingly affected by faulty mitochondria.
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream The moral arguments are seriously overblown. As for the scientific arguments, this is totally new territory...Exceedingly Unseelie
Critics worry the procedure is not ready,
there are too many unforeseen variables scientists are unable to predict. Many are concerned the technology will pave the way for "
" those "whose genetic composition is selected to meet a particular criteria".
@AJStream depends: If it is to escape infertility, than it's okay. But it mustn't be used to make 'designer babies'...Netzblockierer
the procedure is potentially "life-saving", some
that idea is misleading:
The only circumstance in which this technology will be used is if a woman knows that she has a mitochondrial mutation, and so chooses not to risk creating a sick child, but instead creates a different, healthy child. That means that there would not be a single person who would otherwise have been sick, and who will, as a result of the technology, be healthy. Nor would there be anyone alive who otherwise would have died. There will simply be different people born.wired.com
Still, many, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, have hailed three-person IVF as a great advancement in science and an exciting opportunity for families to have healthy children. Cameron, who has a child with disabilities, has openly sympathized with those working to pass the bill:
As someone who has had the experience of having a severely disabled child I have every sympathy with those parents. This is something that can be done and something from all the research and evidence is not playing god with nature, this is much more like a kidney donation or a lung donation rather than some sort of fundamental change that’s being made.dailymail.co.uk
Children conceived through the procedure will hold less than 0.1 per cent of the donor's DNA,
many to dismiss the "three-parent IVF" label.
@AJStream nothing new. Each child is a mixture of 2 parents and grandparent DNA from both parents. Backwards invention for humanity.K Siani
The Stream community shared their opinions, many agreeing that three-person IVF was a necessary advancement in medical science and technology:
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream with this research we can remove genetic diseases and create a generation that won't have to suffer from themMr Twisted Fantasy
@AJStream The technique only uses a teeny bit of DNA from 3rd person to avoid mitochondrial disease. Sounds good to me.Emily Crockett
Others worry there are many ethical issues to be considered:
@AJStream I think there are ethical issues that have to be considered and given precedence. Science should uphold the sanctity of human lifeMoses Machipisa
@Nuri_ibrahim @AJStream avoiding genetical diseases should be regarded w/ extreme caution!
It may result in "eugenics" pseudoscience…Netzblockierer
Some see this technology as the start of a new kind of human evolution:
@AJStream @WIRED This is just the first baby step to what will be part of a new path for human evolution. We have to start somewhere.W. Santiago
@AJStream I think it is the beginning of end of Darwin concept of evolution.umikael