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'3-parent' fertility treatments sparks reader debate

Categories: Community, Health, Science & Technology, World


CBC readers are reacting strongly following the news that Britain is planning to become the first country to offer a so-called three-parent fertility treatment.

The treatment, which involves the genes from a mother, father and a female donor, is designed to help with incurable, mitochondrial diseases. It is known as three-parent in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

So far, the idea is in the research phase, but someare claiming that these genetically modified embryos are a slippery slope to "designer" eugenics.

"I think it's a slippery road to go... I'm all for science and progress but I also believe this might lead to abuse in terms of gene manipulation. Sure this isn't genome modification (yet), and it's just taking mitochondria from someone else without altering them. But I feel this is how the door could get open to unethical things later..., " wrote STSS.

"A logical spinoff of the reproductive research.  A bonanza for the reproductive industry?" wrote mounding.

Others worried about the negative impact such new and controversial treatments could have in the future on human health. 

"It's not wise to play with Mother Nature," said SYBR Green. 

"The reason things like this never work out well is because the science is based on the premise that nature is faulty and needs to be fixed by humans. I'm not sure how many more times we are going to have to learn the painful lesson that nature knows better than even our most brilliant scientists. GMO crops and animals have already wrought havoc on our environment. Can't wait to see what GMO babies have in store for us,"Angelique Hamilton wrote. 

But for most readers, it seemed the main issue was that people would go to such trouble to ensure having a biological child -modifying genetics or using IVF - rather than adopt one of many children in need of a home. 

"If two people want to avoid procreating birth defects, try adoption first, please," wrote Pattigeeful

"One word: Adopt,"said NQuick.

"Approximately 25,000 children die on this planet every day from lack of basic health care and clean water. To consider any mechanism designed to permit people who are not able to conceive a 'child of their own'... is morally and ethically corrupt," wrote Earl James.

Still, some were positive about how far science has come and what good things could be done.

"There are certainly paths this research could go that I don't think it should. However, this first step, an attempt to prevent these terrible diseases, is an important and necessary step to take," Sir_Will wrote.

"Amazing science. Exciting that we may one day see the end of hereditary mitochondrial diseases," Blair25 wrote. 

What do you think about three-parent IVF?

Tags: community, Community Reaction, Health, Science

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