Scientists Under Fire for Creating Designer Embryo, Unborn Child With Three Parents

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 14, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientists Under Fire for Creating Designer Embryo, Unborn Child With Three Parents

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 14
, 2010

London, England (LifeNews.com) — Scientists in England are under fire for creating a "designer embryo" — an unborn child with the DNA of one man and two women. The idea is to be able to offer a way to cerate unborn children for families concerned about giving birth to a child with physical or mental disabilities.

The procedure is referred to as three person in-vitro fertilization and researchers at Newcastle University hope the IVF technique will prevent damaged DNA in mitochondria from getting passed along to offspring.

The process involves the removal of sperm and egg from the affected couples and leaving the mitochondria behind. The scientists put the nuclei into one of the fertilized eggs left over after the in-vitro techniques of other women that have their nuclei removed but their mitochondria retained.

The process draws strong opposition from pro-life groups because scientists created 80 unborn children who were destroyed in the process to obtain the one healthy embryo who would then be implanted for the remainder of the pregnancy to continue.

Lead researcher Professor Doug Turnbull told the Sun newspaper, "What we’ve done is like changing the battery on a laptop."

Josephine Quintavalle, a British pro-life advocate who heads the group CORE, told the newspaper she opposes the destructive process, saying, ""They are creating a child with two mothers. We have to find better ways to cure diseases."

Officials with the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children also responded and told LifeNews.com scientists should stop killing and abusing human beings in experiments.

"None of the 80 or more embryos created by the Newcastle team were allowed to live," Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communications manager, commented. "Each of those embryos were members of the human family, with a right to life equal to those of the scientists who killed them. Human life begins at conception. Any grounds for denying human rights to human embryos are arbitrary and self-serving."

"Creating embryonic children in the laboratory abuses them, by subjecting them to unnatural processes. As with IVF and cloning, this mitochondrial technique may well lead to developmental abnormalities," he added.

Ozimic said, "Scientists should respect human life and pursue ethical alternatives which are much more likely to be successful in the long-term."

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