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My three parents?

New development creates embryos from 3 parents, as well as an ethical dilemma.
Marlon Abrahams
By Marlon Abrahams

Pic: Jade Photography

Article originally in Parent24
Traditionally kids have always been born to two parents. New technology will help to get rid of genetic defects by using material from three individuals meaning that babies will (technically) be born to three parents!

A recent clip on Sky News suggests that this is exactly what might become the norm in the future, in the interest of preventing hereditary disease. Read more here.

It’s all getting a bit crazy and complicated. Gone are the days when you had a fun roll in the hay and 9 months later took what you got and made the most of it. These days it seems we are heading more and more towards a future where we will be able to pre-determine our off-spring. No doubt these new developments in medicine will bring relief to those who struggle to have kids the normal way, but you have to ask yourself what consequences will come with us fiddling with nature in this way…

Basically this new procedure will allow you to “conceive with the help of a third parent, a woman whose donated egg provides a source of healthy DNA. A baby created in this way would have DNA from its mother and father, plus a tiny amount of donated mitochondrial DNA, which comes from the structures within cells that convert energy from food into a form that that cell can use,” says the report.

As justification for tampering with the development of future foetuses the report says “Defects in mitochondrial DNA can give rise to a range of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases including a form of muscular dystrophy. They can also lead to the loss of hearing and vision, heart problems and intestinal disorders. The law currently bans genetic material from being tampered with in this way.”

So the British government is asking people to share their views on the matter in an attempt to possibly change the law. Well, let’s see; what do you do if you are desperate to have a child, but you’re advised that it will be born with 3 heads unless you have a laboratory ‘threesome’ with your wife and some other hottie (figuratively speaking of course)?

Do you:

A: Have the procedure and hope that your baby suffers no other side effects, like possibly picking up or developing other hereditary genetic manifestations from the donor. Can you see the plot of an alien movie in the making here?

Or B: Have a baby the traditional way and see it develop your own hereditary genetic flaws like heart disease, cancer or muscular dystrophy and suffer the pain and agony that goes with it.

You tell me.

Do you think it’s dangerous to tamper with genetics?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams


Friends in the trenches

2012-09-14 12:14

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