This is being hailed as a scientific breakthrough- a new procedure allowed a baby to be born with DNA from three different people- two women and a man. Here’s the story from New Scientist:
It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people…
The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of the child, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists.
The boy’s mother carries genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system. …
Response: The Jordanian couple is happy to have a child without the genetic problems that killed their previous children. One can be happy for them and yet question the ethics of this new technique.
I believe that the old adage- “Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should” –may readily apply to this new scientific breakthrough. Here are the reasons that the new procedure has some potential ethical problems:
1. Destruction of Embryos: According to the report, only 1 out of the 5 embryos produced by this procedure was viable.
2. Custom Order Babies?: This new technique might eventually be used to order up the sex, hair color, eye color, potential height and build, intelligence, racial characteristics, and etc. that parents with enough money might prefer? This was one of Hitler’s dreams/nightmares.
3. Who and How Many are the Actual Parents?: In this case 3 contributed to the makeup of this baby. The technique itself seems to be rather open ended on how many might actually contribute to the DNA of a future child? Who are the actual legal parents? Also, what will a birth certificate say?
This is just off the top of my head. Anyone else want to take a stab at this? My final questions are these: Can three people actually claim to be this child’s parents? This could be a legal nightmare. Even more important, how will a child respond later in life when they find out about their various parental DNA contributions? And finally, how will they identify themselves? *Top