To say that infertility treatments have a come a long way is truly an understatement. Many moons ago, women who were having difficult conceiving turned to shaman or healers who were knowledgeable in ancient infertility procedures and supplements such as various potent herbs. Now, as technology continues to evolve and progress, there are a variety of different types of IVF treatments that can help couples achieve their dream of becoming parents.
However, a new highly controversial IVF treatment is allowing couples to conceive a child using three parents.
While IVF treatments in general have always fallen under harsh scrutiny, Britain recently became the first country in the world to vote in favor of three-person IVF, which has left critics of the controversial treatment asking, how far is too far?
The goal of three-person IVF is to eliminate the risk of chronic genetic conditions such as mitochondrial disease, which can severely limit and affect the quality of a child’s life. Mitochondrial disease causes the most damage to the body’s most important organs and systems, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, skeletal and endocrine systems, has been known to cause of number of chronic ailments, such as cardiac disease, liver disease, diabetes, respiratory complications and developmental delays.
Three person IVF involves removing the faulty mitochrondrial DNA from the biological mother’s eggs and replacing it with healthy mitochondrial DNA from a donor’s egg. The child will only retain less than 1% of the donor’s DNA and the healthy mitochrondrial DNA will continue to be passed down from generation to generation.
The Catholic Church and other critics have expressed concern the possible destruction of embryos during the three-person IVF cycle, as well as the possibility of three-person IVF leading to further genetic modification. Critics believe this will inspire a new wave of “designer children”, in which parents create children with specific, highly desired genetic traits such as increased intelligence or athleticism.
The British parliament, however, has remained firm in their stance that three-person IVF is purely therapeutic. Continue reading here.