It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but technological and scientific advances can and frequently are stranger than fiction! We now have a possible three, yes three and not two parents to a baby, and it isn’t surrogacy that we speak of here.
What is a 3 parent baby or 3 parent IVF?
It is possible that in the near future, children could be born using the genetic material of more than two parents, so that the child will have three genetic parents. The controversial procedure that uses DNA from three individuals is banned in most places currently.
The process is used in the case of women who have defective eggs or eggs with defective mitochondria. In this process the nucleus is taken from one woman’s egg and is inserted into the cytoplasm of another woman’s egg.
The latter egg will have the nucleus removed but the vital mitochondria are retained. This hybrid egg is then fertilized with a sperm to create an embryo.
Three parent babies would be reality soon
Recent reports suggest that babies with three parents could be born soon. A team of scientists from the Newcastle University in northeastern England made this announcement following a sizeable research grant for developing the technique.
The procedure is meant to avoid passing on genetic defects that a mother may have, on to a future baby. These could be life threatening conditions such as brain, heart, muscle and kidney disease that the procedure hopes to eliminate.
The mitochondria in cells are described as the batteries that power the cells, and if these are faulty, the procedure will be looking to replace these faulty mitochondria. A public consultation will decide whether this procedure should receive the green signal.
Scientists are hopeful that the technique will give families affected with certain diseases the chance to have healthy children.
Opponents of the proposed technique question the ethics of such as technique, because it is tantamount to “playing God”. Opponents also point out the possible fallouts of having 3 parents; where the child as well as the parents could suffer physical and psychological damage.
The possibility of such a technique becoming a reality has been around for several years since 2003, when the ban on such a technique was first imposed. So current law would not permit this possibility to become fact, however in the future, it may do so if laws are permitted to be changed.