Should we be in favour of ‘three-parent’ babies?
19th February 2015
British medical science announced a breakthrough in genetically inherited diseases this month with their revelation of the ‘three parent’ baby. The idea was discussed in the House of Commons where 382 MPs voted yes, whilst 128 were against the idea. So let’s take a closer look and what it is, how it works and how it could affect the lives of future babies and generations.
What is the three parent baby?
The medical procedure gives mothers who carry genetic diseases in their DNA a chance to have healthy babies, without the threat and worry of passing on the disease to their children.
How does it work?
The faulty DNA in a woman’s egg is replaced with healthy DNA from a second female, so the baby would inherit genes from the two women and one male, thus using three parents.
Why should it be used?
This new medical procedure can stop genetic diseases, such as Mitochondria, being passed on from the mother to the child.
Defective Mitochondria can only be passed down through the mother and can lead to major failure of organs such as brain damage, heart failure and muscle wasting to name just a few. Currently, one in 200 children are affected by the disease, but with the 0.1% attribute of DNA from a donor woman with healthy mitochondria, the disease can be stopped in its tracks and prevent it from being passed down to future generations.
Why should we have it?
- It would stop a cruel and life destroying disease for generations to come
- Only use 0.1% of the donor woman’s DNA. The donor woman will have no rights over the baby and play no part in their life, leaving the two parents to raise the child as they would if it was just their two DNA parts involved.
- Prime Minister David Cameron shows his support claiming, “We’re not playing god here, we’re just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one.”
- Gives women who carry the disease a chance to have a healthy child whilst still using their own genes
- Labour’s shadow public health minister, Luciana Berger, explains how it can “help break a chain of misery that would otherwise affect multiple generations”.
- Put less emotional strain on families who have to parent children with the disease, or worst case scenario, deal with the death of a child.
- Give couples the confidence and chance to become parents.
Why shouldn’t we have it?
This new scientific revelation raises certain ethical and safety concerns of which some include:
- Are we playing God? Should we leave nature alone?
- It’s a gateway to the designer baby, as believed by Human Genetics Alert group who explain a baby can be modified for its looks, intelligence, as well as to be free from disease. David King expands, “Once you cross the ethical line, it is very hard not to take the next step of designer babies.”
- If the procedure encounters any unexpected problems, it could affect those who aren’t even born yet.
- Safety concerns as we don’t entirely know how the results will turn out further down the line i.e. in future generations. The Church of England have expressed how they are not entirely against the idea but would want more research to be carried out before it is introduced.
Another vote is required in the House of Lords, but if the majority vote yes, then Britain will be the first country in the world to go ahead with the IVF procedure to create a baby made from the genetic material of three parents. The scientific advance wouldn’t come into law until October and the first three parent baby could be born in 2016!
What are your thoughts on the three parent baby? Are you in favour?
Here at Tiny World, we care for the wellbeing of all the children who are in our care, so if you’re searching for well established day nursery in Nottingham or Mansfield, then please get in touch with us today. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through our policies and procedures.