New Way of Making a Baby Will Blow Your Mind (& Your Wallet)

ivf

The United Kingdom has just become the first country in the world to legalize a controversial IVF technique: mixing DNA from three parents to make a baby. Researchers say this will help prevent mitochondrial diseases, which afflict one in every 65,000 babies with health issues including heart disease and muscular dystrophy. Still, some argue that such tampering is unethical.

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How it works: if a mom finds out she carries the genetic blueprints for mitochondrial disease, researchers create an embryo using DNA from her, the father, and a healthy strand of mitochrondrial DNA from a donor embryo -- which is destroyed afterward.

Catholic and Anglican church leaders claim this procedure is unethical because it destroys an embryo; meanwhile, others worry that this will kick-start a "designer babies" movement where parents can choose a baby's height, eye color, and other appealing traits.

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Still, while there are risks and unknowns to any new procedure, I think this one is well worth it. Anyone against it should ask themselves how they'd feel if they were one of those women who could pass on mitochondrial disease: does that mean you should just resign yourself to having a baby with lifelong health problems, which could have easily been fixed with a three-parent baby?

And besides, we already tamper with the reproductive process in so many ways -- to me, this just seems like the next step, and one that will be welcomed by parents who want to have healthy kids.

As for concerns about "designer babies," I think they're way overblown, too, since this technique uses less than 0.1 percent of the donor parent's DNA. That's just enough to save the baby from a genetic disease -- but not enough to change their entire appearance. So it's not like parents can say, "Oh, honey, I've always wanted a green-eyed baby; let's order one up!"

And besides, genetic disorders aside, I think parents like seeing their own genes reflected in their offspring. Borrow too much from a third party, and you kinda defeat the whole purpose. So I doubt parents will get too carried away with wanting what that third "parent" has to offer.

What do you think about three-parent babies?

 

Image via nevodka/shutterstock

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