In vitro fertilization with 3 parents – pros and cons

On Monday, 02/02/2015, members of the British Parliament /the lower house of parliament – the House of Commons/ voted by a large majority /382 against 182/ in favor of amending the law to allow the technique of in vitro fertilization (IVF) called “mitochondrial DNA transfer”.

This method is better known by its popular name “IVO with three parents” /1 father and 2 mothers/ and aims to prevent serious genetic diseases such as the transmission of hereditary muscular dystrophy from the mother to the child.

In this IVF technique, the “bad” mitochondrial DNA in the egg cell is replaced with healthy DNA from another donor egg cell.

Next month, if the upper house of the British Parliament /House of Lords/ supports the amendments introduced in the bill, Great Britain will become the first country in the world to legalize the application of the medical method “3-parent IVF” on humans.< /p>

Diseases caused by damaged mitochondrial DNA usually affect several organs and are accompanied by such symptoms as muscular dystrophy, loss of control over movements, diabetes mellitus and epileptic syndrome.

These clinical manifestations can lead to kidney failure, heart disease and, in more severe cases, death.

According to a recent study published in the authoritative New England Journal of Medicine, 2,500 women in the UK are in need of mitochondrial donation.

A group of scientists from the University of Newcastle in Great Britain, led by Professor Doug Turnbull, who created this method of in vitro fertilization, are ready to move to clinical research of this technique as soon as the new law comes into force, which is expected to happen in October this year, that is, children conceived in this way can be born as early as 2016.

Mitochondria are the small “accumulators” inside the cells of the body, they convert nutrients into energy for the cell.

They have their own DNA /not related to that in the nucleus of the cell/ whose function is only to control the activity of the mitochondria and the generation of energy for the cell.

Damage to this mitochondrial DNA leads to disease of tissues and organs that require a large amount of energy – such as the brain, heart, skeletal muscle, liver and kidneys.

When a child is normally conceived, it inherits almost exclusively the mother’s mitochondria, since those of the sperm are used up during its movement to the egg, and the rest are usually destroyed by the female gamete after fertilization.

And because children inherit mitochondria only from their mothers, the new IVF method replaces the genetic material only in the egg obtained from women who have defective mitochondrial DNA.

Arguments against

The method of in vitro fertilization with 3 parents has many opponents. The main argument against the legalization of this method is the fear that it will set a precedent and open the door to the legalization of other forms of genetic manipulation.

Opponents point out: “If damaged mitochondrial DNA is replaced to prevent genetic diseases, it is easy to cross the line and reach the era in which we will also start creating ‘designer babies’, that is, the conscious manipulation of the genes because of the preferences of how the future baby should look.’

Geneticists are concerned about the long-term consequences of such “germline” interference.

These genetic changes will be present in all the cells of the new organism in all the cells of the new organism and will be transmitted to all generations through the female line, and the consequences of this at this time cannot be predicted.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button