HFEA decision on three parent embryos reckless and potentially dangerous

Life is gravely concerned at news this morning that The Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority has approved the use of mitochondrial replacement therapy which produces children born with three parents.

Life Spokesman Mark Bhagwandin said “Despite the thousands of people who have written to the HFEA and sounded alarm bells, it has decided to approve a procedure which will alter the human genome. The HFEA says it is a cautious decision. However this genetic modification of human beings, is very uncertain and potentially dangerous. There is nothing cautious about the HFEA ruling. It is at the very least reckless and irresponsible given that we have absolutely no idea what the long term consequences are to us interfering with the human genome. Just a few months ago one study on mice showed that this therapy could influence metabolism and aging. It has also already been acknowledged by scientists that there is a risk of the original “defective mitochondria” still entering the modified embryo. The therapy, only trialled in animals so far, could therefore fail.

Whilst we are deeply sympathetic to the plight of people with mitochondrial related diseases, the ends does not always justify the means. We would encourage and support greater investigation and research into ethical remedies which do not seek to genetically modify human beings.”


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6 people are talking about HFEA decision on three parent embryos reckless and potentially dangerous

  1. Christine Wall says:

    The decision by HFEA is sickening. Interfering with the designs of nature can often throw something back in its face.

  2. Paul Muller FRCS says:

    I am a retired surgeon. The statement that mitochondria only have a very small amount of DNA from the mother nucleus is incorrect . Mitochondria can increase in number by stimulation from the donor nucleus when the cell needs more energy. The DNA from the nucleus could mix with the DNA from the donor mitochondria with disastrous results.

  3. Trevor Stammers says:

    Whilst I agree with you entirely Mark that the decision was as predictable as it is anything but cautious, the fact is that the technique has worked in humans already with the announcement of the birth of the little boy to a Jordanian couple in Mexico earlier this year using mitochondrial manipulation (though the fact this had been done without being written up in a peer review journal to date is unusual). True caution would surely counsel waiting to see if this baby remains well. Newcastle will surely 'succeed' as well eventually, but how many egg donors will have to be paid to get there and how many embryos discarded or even implanted embryos subsequently aborted before they get there is not of course likely to be publicized widely.

  4. william spring says:

    absolutely agree Ann

  5. william spring says:

    Absolutely agree with you Ann

  6. ANN FARMER says:

    The decision to give the go-ahead to ‘3-parent babies’ was drearily predictable, given the HFEA’s track record. Having given permission for experiments upon and disposal of embryos, supposedly in order to develop cures for all manner of diseases and conditions, no brake has been put on this unethical practice, despite the number of such cures being zero to date. This latest decision demonstrates that they are still in thrall to the belief that if only ethical boundaries can be broken, mankind will reap untold blessings in health and happiness, mainly because disability and sickness will be eradicated.
    All they have done is to send a message that people with such conditions are better off not being born. As a person with a genetic condition, I would love for them to be able to eradicate my condition, but they cannot do that without eradicating people like me – and then what? Eradicate all the carriers? The ‘3-parent baby’ technique, even if it works on its own unethical terms, will merely fulfil the eugenics agenda – the quest for the perfect (i.e. non-disabled) human. We are moving towards creating human beings as consumer products to be discarded, possibly with a refund, if the customer is not absolutely satisfied.

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