19 September 2012

Should the birth of "three-parent" children be allowed?

In the UK, a discussion has begun on the practice of IVF with three parents

Copper newsThe UK has launched a public consultation on the controversial method of in vitro "three-parent" fertilization (IVF with three parents), which will allow families with incurable diseases to have healthy children, Fox News reports (Should 3-parent IVF be allowed to avoid disease?).

The method, which has not yet entered into practice and is under development in laboratories in the UK and the USA, involves the development of a genetically modified embryo. Such an embryo is endowed with genes from three parents: a mother, a father and a female egg donor. IVF with three parents will help families in which mitochondrial diseases are traced (diseases associated with defects in the DNA of mitochondria transmitted only through the maternal line). One child per 6,500 is born with mitochondrial diseases worldwide.

According to Lisa Jardine, head of the British Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), this method is currently "disenfranchised territory", but if it becomes legal, it will "go into perpetual use."

HFEA is an independent British regulatory body for artificial insemination and human embryological research, the British government has asked it to "measure the temperature in society on this important and exciting topic," says Lisa Jardine.

IVF with three parents involves an invasion of the fertilization process in order to remove defective mitochondrial DNA from the mother's egg, which otherwise can cause incurable heart diseases, liver failure, brain development disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy.

During IVF with three parents, inheritance of defective maternal mitochondrial DNA is excluded by transferring the fertilized nucleus into a nuclear-free egg of a donor woman, which provides the future body with its healthy mitochondria, whose function is to provide the cell with energy.

The UK is at the forefront of research related to experimental human embryology. As Fox News notes, "the whole world, especially the United States, is following the ethical decisions and scientific breakthroughs made here."

The organizer of the current consultations, Lisa Jardine, is due to submit a report to the Government in early 2013.

Among the questions that representatives of various social groups will have to answer during the consultations, such as "what will a child born as a result of using the three-parent IVF method feel, whether it is necessary to tell the child about this, what are the rights of a female donor, should mitochondrial donation be regarded as the same as egg and sperm donation, or rather how is blood and tissue donation, and, finally, who will decide on the admission of couples to this procedure?".

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru19.09.2012

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