Will “Three-Parent” Babies Lead Us To Our Future Designer Babies ?
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Have you heard about the first “Three-Parent Baby” that was born using a controversial technique involving DNA from three individuals? The U.S.-based team behind the operation, led by John Zhang of the New Hope Fertility Center of New York City, chose to carry out the procedure in Mexico, for a Jordanian couple. And the baby boy was born in April of 2016. Not much had been reported because the specialist behind the procedure would not release the data until October of 2016 (at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, with its online abstract), due to the uncertain legal status of the therapy or procedure. On Thursday, December 15, 2016, Britain became the first country to formally license this in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, legally offering ‘Three-Parent’ Baby Gene Therapy.
Is this the beginning of designer babies for our future? Even though there will be much ethical concerns behind this treatment/technique, UK is paving its way for a special in vitro fertilization process that would provide the baby DNA from three parents (although the amount of DNA is really just about 2.001 parents). This is the way to eliminate certain diseases or to help resolve some infertility issues. In this case, Leigh Syndrome, a fatal neurological disorder that would have been caused by the mutation of some of the mitochondria in the baby’s mother’s cells. Since most of the mother’s mitochondria function properly, she doesn’t have the syndrome. But she can pass the disease onto her children (two have already died of this disease and she has had four miscarriages.). For better understanding of the making of this “Three-Parent Baby”, please view these videos below:
Until all of its potential ethical complications unfolds, this IVF treatment technique of “Three-Parent” Baby Gene Therapy may be able to help to solve much fertility problems or diseases. Now the question are:
- when will it become available to people in USA? Do American parents who need/want this procedure have to go to UK or Mexico to have this done?
- how long do you think it will take before those sci-fi designer babies become the norm rather than the rare cases?
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