At Cambridge University, researchers claim that creating babies with two fathers or two mothers could become a reality by using the skin from two adults of the same sex. But the pro-life movement has good reason to be significantly concerned about the process and the destruction of human life involved.
According to the Daily Mail, the scientists hail the new development as giving new hope to infertile and gay couples that want to have children.
Allan Pacey, an infertility expert, said that the technology could, for example, give hope to thousands of men who’ve been left infertile after childhood cancer. The scientists involved in the project used skin from five adults to create stem cells, which make sperm and eggs in the body. The scientists also claim that that the cells could be used as a “repair kit” to heal human tissue.
However, people involved in the project and pro-life advoctates have ethical concerns about the new technique.
The specialist leading the project, Jacob Hanna, said, “I am not in favour of creating engineered humans … but I am very confident it will work and will be very relevant to anyone who has lost their fertility through disease. It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex.”
A professor at Cambridge University, Azim Surani, told The Sunday Times more about the project.
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He said, “We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish. We have also discovered that one of the things that happen in these germ cells is that epigenetic mutations, the cell mistakes that occur with age, are wiped out. That means the cell is regenerated and reset, so while the rest of the cells in the body have aged and contain genetic mistakes, these ones don’t. We can’t say no mutations are passed on, but mostly it doesn’t happen. The use of manufactured sperm and egg cells would require a change in the law.”
The director of Human Genetics Alert, David King, said he is concerned that scientists might view the development as a “convenient route” to creating genetically engineered babies.
In fact, this week the House of Lords is set to approve the use of mitochondrial transfer or “three-parent baby” technology. The technology is designed to prevent devastating diseases caused by faults in mitochondria by swapping them with healthy ones from an egg donor. If accepted, Britain would become the first country in the world to allow the creation of babies that have three parents.
Many pro-lifers have serious concerns with the morality of making genetically engineered children. This is not just because it involves the destruction of human life but also because in order to “perfect” these children experimentation will have to take place. Ultimately, human life will be used in science experiments and mistakes will be made that we cannot take back.