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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

3-Parent Children as Human Experiments



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If the “we never say no” Human Embryo Authority in the UK approves the creation of 3-parent embryos, it would be permitting blatant human experimentation on children.

Indeed, I don’t see any other way to look at it. Note the quote below. From the Associated Press story:

Britain’s fertility regulator says controversial techniques to create embryos from the DNA of three people “do not appear to be unsafe” even though no one has ever received the treatment, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report based its conclusion largely on lab tests and some animal experiments and called for further experiments before patients are treated. “Until a healthy baby is born, we cannot say 100 percent that these techniques are safe,” said Dr. Andy Greenfield, who chaired the expert panel behind the report.

So, to prevent a child being born with a genetic condition we will endanger that child for a potential lifetime of consequences. Or to put it another way, these children will be life-long experiments, even if they are born safely–a big if.

This is not going to be a matter of a once off and then all is okay. You are using, in essence, a twice broken egg.  Moreover, there have been health issues with animal models made in this way, not to mention cloned animals which similarly require the use of broken eggs–and this after many years of refining the cloning technique.

But let’s get to the heart of this controversy. In the end, the drive to manufacture three parent children isn’t really about allowing women with particular heritable genetic conditions to have biologically related children who won’t pass on the disease. That’s the pretext.

I believe that all of this effort is about continuing to pry open the door to anything goes in the reproductive sphere–for various cultural and political purposes, including making it easier to obtain future license for human genetic engineering.



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