The United Kingdom recently became the first country to approve a controversial procedure that would allow doctors to create a baby from the DNA of three parents. The procedure seeks to overcome certain genetic conditions that could pass from the parents to the child without the other strand of DNA to override them. A child created using this technique would contain the DNA of two women and one man.
Researchers at Newcastle University claim that the procedure could give hope to about 2,500 families every year. However, the technique does not come without some obvious ethical and moral questions. Opponents of the method obviously question the notion of “playing God” with a the DNA of a human being, while two of Britain’s largest churches have weighed in as well.
The Roman Catholic Church opposed the change in law which allowed the process to be legalised, suggesting that it “dilutes parenthood.” The Church of England, meanwhile, said it wasn’t necessarily opposed to the procedure in principle but wanted more research on the impacts as well as further debate on the ethics of the issue.
On the other hand, leaders of the three major political parties in the UK voted to approve the procedure when it came before Parliament. Proponents of the technique applaud the decision to approve it.
Sally Cheshire, the chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said: “Britain is the first country in the world to permit this treatment, and it is a testament to the scientific expertise and well-respected regulatory regime that exists across the UK that Parliament has felt able to approve it.”
Beginning in November, clinics can apply for licenses to attempt the procedure, and the first attempts could take place early next year.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Leigh Prather