Future Heathers may now have two mommies – and a dad.
The Food and Drug Administration is holding meetings today and tomorrow on whether to allow U.S. scientists to start “combin[ing] the DNA of three people, instead of just two, to create a child,” reports Bloomberg. The goal of the scientists handling this experimentation would be “eliminating genetic disease in newborns.”
But there are grave ethical concerns about the procedure, including worries that it would be used not just to eliminate disease, but to create designer babies – for instance, children who looked a certain way or had a certain IQ.
“While the goal of trying to prevent mitochondrial-caused diseases is of course a worthwhile one, the ethical alarms set off by this way of doing so are numerous,” wrote Jennifer Lahl, President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, and Gene Tarne, senior analyst for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, in a piece last year. “Most obviously, the procedure destroys two embryos in order to produce a genetically modified third one.”
Lahl and Tarne also pointed out that the child involved in the experiment does not – nor can – give consent.
“And because this is a new technology, there is no way of knowing what the impact will be on the child created through this experimental three-parent technique,” they add. “The child would be born with the DNA from the father, the mother and the woman who donates (or sells) her egg. This is human experimentation on progeny who are incapable of giving consent.”