Three-parent designer babies to treat incurable diseases
Yahoo News reported that Britain is going to be the first country to be offering controversial three-parent IVF. These fertility treatments are the supposed solutions for mothers who wish to avoid passing incurable diseases related to mitochondrial DNA down to the next generation.
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Defective mitochondrial DNA
Defective genes, or more specifically, faulty mitochondrial DNA, are passed along the maternal line. A child whose mother has incurable diseases associated with defective mitochondrial DNA will almost definitely inherit these conditions as well.
Defective mitochondrial DNA can cause heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy.
The three-parent IVF solution
The three-parent IVF is designed to replace a mother’s defective mitochondrial DNA with a healthy set during fertilisation. The offspring would then consist of genes from the father, mother and a female donor. The embryo is modified outside the body, and cellular materials are exchanged before it is implanted back into uterine lining, and developed into a fetus.
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Find out what all the controversy is about!
The 3-parent IVF controversy
Certainly, a large number of people have voiced their concerns. Pro-life had already criticised the scientific research, claiming that creating embryos and altering their genes is unnatural. Undoubtedly, the biggest fear regarding the three-parent IVF technique is the possibilities of eugenic designer babies.
However, after reviewing the treatment procedure of three-parent IVF, the British medical ethics panel came to a consensus that it is ethical. The panel also considered the process safe and effective.
Chief medical officer, Sally Davies said that she has debated and considered the ethical implications with experts and has come to the conclusion that the treatment should be allowed.
Abuse of gene therapy can not only produce adverse health risks, but also play a huge role in impacting social chaos. Problems such as ostracism are likely outcomes.
Nazi eugenics is probably one of the most infamous cases throughout history. Eliminating the disabled or diseased was supposed to promote a strong Aryan race.
Eugenics were also practiced in the U.S., years before the Nazi did. People were forced to be sterilised because they were seen as social liabilities. A famous slogan at that time read “Some people are born to be a burden on the rest.”
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Other adverse effects of gene therapy
Although advances in technology have proven gene therapy reliable, safe and effective, it might not necessarily be all that true. Besides the problem of eugenics, other unforeseen side effects may arise. Here are three of the most life-threatening consequences.
- Immune responses. Since introduced genes are foreign genes, the immune system may be triggered to fight them off and eventually destroy them.
- Disrupting important genes. If the foreign gene is not prepared in the right manner or if it is injected incorrectly, there is a high chance that the gene can be inserted within important genes that execute important functions, resulting in severe permanent damage.
- Cancer. If these foreign genes are inserted into genes that prevent the growth of cancer cells, they may lose their functions and trigger cancer.
What’s your take on this new procedure? We’d love to hear your opinion! Learn more about eugenics in this video: