Babies with Three Biological Parents
How many biological parents do you have? I have two, and I bet you do too. But with the help of some British scientists, that may be about to change for future generations.
British researchers just received $9 million to further study an in vitro fertilization technique meant to eliminate hereditary diseases passed on to babies through their mothers.
In order to bypass the disease-carrying DNA, a motherâ€™s egg and fatherâ€™s sperm would be combined with a healthy donor egg, meaning the resulting child would technically have three biological parents. Scientists say the baby would inherit his identity from the mother and father and that the tiny fraction of DNA coding from the donor egg would have minimal genetic impact on the child. (Read more of the technical details atÂ UPI.com).
As of right now, itâ€™s not legal for these modified fertilized eggs to be implanted into a woman, but that may soon become a possibility. Britainâ€™s Department of Health has scheduled a public hearing to discuss the future of the research and whether it will eventually be put into practice with patients.
Ethically, modifying an embryoâ€™s DNA opens up a whole can of worms. I can hear it now: Once it becomes legal to change a babyâ€™s DNA to avoid hereditary diseases, how much longer will it be until people are custom-ordering their children with certain other traits, like hair and eye color?
What do you think? Are we getting dangerously close to having too much technology involved in the creation of life? Or is this simply giving the gift of healthy children, something every parent wants?
Leah (a.k.a. agirlandaboy) is pregnant with her second child, due July 2012, and to be perfectly honest, is kind of freaking out about it. Sheâ€™ll be hanging out at 24/7 Mom to share more honesty, as well as tips, news, links, suggestions, and commiseration with all you other pregnant mamas out there.
Leah has been writing online since 2003. You can find her all over the Internet, but mostly at her personal blog,