Thursday, 22 November 2012

Three parent embryos: the time to respond is now!

The government's consultation period about mitochondrial donation (by which three-parent embryos may be created) ends soon, so don't forget to let your views be known.  The home page for the consultation has some useful information about the techniques involved, and the consultation itself is here.

I don't suppose it will make much difference (cf the consultation on redefining marriage) but nonetheless I believe we have an obligation to speak out. 

The science is clever, of course, which is why the scientists and doctors are keen to do this, but the implications are worrying.

Essentially, there are two different techniques under consideration (Maternal Spindle Transfer [MST] and Pro-Nuclear Transfer [PNT]), but neither are acceptable ethically, and both risk causing severe problems of identity for any resulting children, who will have three genetic parents.

The excellent Anscombe Centre have published guidance on the issues at stake, including a question-by-question guide to the consultation and the things to bear in mind whilst answering it.

Their last line is particularly telling, it seems to me: 

The aim of MST and PNT is to satisfy the wish for a genetically related child, and this wish does not justify cloning, embryo destruction, genetically modifying the child or altering the germline.

This is the root of the problem: people believing that they may  - indeed should - do anything to gratify a wish for a genetically related child.  The child becomes an object of choice (a philosophy closely related to the abortion industry, of course) rather than intrinsically worthy of love, which might lead more to consider adoption (and reject abortion).

We live in a deeply damaged society, but if we do not at least strive to limit the damage, we are co-responsible for that.

No comments: