Great Britain has betrayed one of the few fundamental ethical principles that the world seemed to retain as intangible: the genetic identity of the human being.
Following the vote of both houses of the British Parliament, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11432058/Three-parent-babies-House-of-Lords-approves-law-despite-fears-children-could-be-sterile.html with its last bill passed in February, in vitro fertility clinics will now be able to carry out a procedure called “mitochondrial donation”.
The children created through such IVF procedure would thus have genetic material derived from three biological parents: a mother, a father and a female donor. This is to prevent the mother to “pass on” to her child a mitochondrial disease, which is genetically transmitted via female line. The procedure involves using a donor egg of which nucleus will be replaced by the egg nucleus taken from the mother. The modified egg is then fertilized in vitro with father’s sperm as seeing below:
The procedure is invasive and very risky – and it is unclear what effect this mitochondrial transfer will have on the child thus created or the subsequent generations. It has therefore unpredictable consequences.
By this new legislation, Great Britain betrays the global consensus on the inviolability of the human genome. The fact that human beings will be created by using selected genetic material from different people, is the first and most important step towards creating “custom children”.
As is always the case with this type of technological advances, the IVF industry uses extreme examples to produce empathy in order to advance their agenda (just as the proponents of legalizing abortion pushed forth cases of children resulted from rape or incest).
It is clear that, once the public shock caused by this absolute novelty will pass, the uses of genetic manipulation will extend to other diseases and cases.
No one in their full mental faculties can believe that the IVF industry has invested years of effort, funds and an assiduous lobby just to help some people suffering from a rare genetic disorder. It is obvious that the situation of mitochondrial diseases is only the first attempt to the inviolability of the human genome. Once this will be accepted, all legal restrictions will be removed, one by one.
A world where some can play with the genetic heritage of others, is a world where the respect for human dignity is completely annihilated. Babies obtained by a certain recipe, at the desire of some parents (which brings back to the idea that despite popular belief, there is no ” human right” to have children, in the legal meaning of the term).
The acceptance of this new technology is similar or even worse than accepting slavery. If a slave can release himself form the oppressors, a “fabricated child” will never be able to escape the genetic identity imposed by others.