New Way of Making a Baby Takes 3 People Instead of 2

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IVFIt's the stuff of science fiction nightmares: genetically engineered babies who would have three parents -- two who would raise him or her (presumably) and a third whose DNA is used only to eradicate genetic diseases in one of the other parents. Holy hell that is scary and it might be legal in the UK. Soon.

The concept is like many others in genetically engineered embryos. It's supposed to be a breakthrough, something that could all but eliminate genetic diseases and issues. But it also brings up massive ethical concerns. British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been charged with examining the resulting child's sense of identity or any legal issues that might arise from bringing a third party into the parental mix. But this should be obvious. I don't mean to sound reactionary, but this just seems like playing with fire.

Medical breakthroughs are great when they have to do with curing people of diseases or helping those who are here live better lives. But aren't some things better left "natural"? The whole concept of genetic engineering seems like a slippery slope. It may help people who can't conceive because of diseases have their own genetic babies, but at what cost? Is it worth it?

I say it's not. I know I am in a lucky position. We got pregnant easily and both my husband and I were tested for genetic problems before pregnancy in order to conceive. But I also know we would have opted to adopt or used donor sperm or eggs if we thought it was dangerous for us to conceive. Somehow this idea of three parents seems unnatural and wrong.

It also discounts the child's feelings. Sure, using donor sperm or eggs has its own host of issues. But it's still within the realm of the natural world. One egg. One sperm. You roll the dice. That IS conception, people. This feels dangerously close to changing the entire way we have babies.

What is to stop parents from picking the traits of 15 people someday and trying to put them all together as one baby? As parents, part of the beauty of having a baby together for me was the randomness. I have two children. They are very different from one another. My son is blond. My daughter has light brown hair. My son is wild and silly. My daughter is more cerebral and silly. My daughter has my husband's eyes. My son has mine.

This changes all that. Why is it so important for parents to share SOME genetic connection with their child that they would be willing to do something like this? Couldn't they love a child just as much who lacked a genetic connection?

Something about this just feels wrong. It feels like a path we can't get off once we go down. Not every single "problem" demands a solution. Sometimes "natural" is better. To me, the ethical concerns are just too many. Sure, it may bring in new hope for many. But what it takes away isn't worth the trade-off.

Do you think this seems OK?

 

Image via boklm/Flickr

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AHowa... AHoward66

No. I don't think this is ok at all. Genetically engineered children... creepy. It's a very slippery slope.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

I think it's fine and great innovation. Why wouldn't we want to do anything possible to help people have healthy children?

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I'm incredibly interested in it. A future where we have the ability to eliminate genetic diseases? It's an unbelievable breakthrough that we've made the leap to human embryos with this, and frankly i'm damn proud of my fellow scientists that they managed to do this!

nonmember avatar Mike M

Within the next couple hundred years many people will be living average lifespans of 130 to 180 years in good health as the result of advances in science and technology along with greater knowledge about the potentials of energetically healing ourselves. (I know this as I can communicate with spirits and they know everything about our future.) Is it wrong for us to make steps in this direction? If so, why? Should everyone be forced to risk the possibility of suffering from the wide variety of genetic disorders which exist today that can be prevented or at least reduced in their severity today or in the future?

tyrel... tyrelsmom

Haven't they realized yet that the more you f*ck with nature, the more it f*cks with you? Leave it alone, please!

shesl... shesliketx

This is interesting and reminds me of the novel Brave New World, while the idea of eliminating genetic disorders or lessening severity is excellent, I also find myself pondering how much further will they take this science?

Katy Khan

Oh God, are you really scared of SCIENCE? And if someone in the future CAN and wants to have genes from 15 people in their baby, what business is it of yours? Whatever environment a child grows up in, so long as it's healthy, will be normal for that child. And anyway, you started out by talking about how this is intended to prevent genetic diseases...how is THAT a bad thing? If it doesn't affect you, have a opinion, certainly, but please don't try to have a say.

quinn007 quinn007

On the surface this sounds like a great idea-who wouldn't want to eradicate genetic diseases.  But when you think about the resulting population boom, if people live to 130+ or people that normally would not have children suddenly do...we are already overpopulated & I wonder how much more of a burden our planet and our society can take.  Land and water is not infinite.  That is just the first concern that jumped out at me.  I think scientific innovations are fantastic but when you start to tinker with the very essence of human life how far can you go before it backfires?

nonmember avatar zizzler

I think it sounds awesome. Remember when we thought hand washing and vaccines were voodoo that would lead to the world brimming over with 15 kids per family? lmao GO SCIENCE!

Torra... TorranceMom

Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

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