Debating ethics of new human reproduction technologies

Welcome to the brave new world of technology-enhanced human reproduction with its promise of alleviating the heartache of infertility, and its dangers of crossing ethical and moral lines.  At a time when more options are available for women to conceive on their own timetable, perhaps hone their embryos to be free of disease and defects, and postpone childbirth until it fits their schedule, human reproduction is veering into a future that doctors, scientists, and philosophers aren’t entirely prepared for.

The New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, assembled a series of panels last Thursday to explore the frontiers of reproductive technology from the routine-though-still-expensive IVF (in vitro fertilization) to PGD  (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) where parents can screen embryos for potential defects, and mitochondrial intervention that produces sensational headlines like “Meet the Three-Parent Baby.”

A panel titled “Where Babies Come From” explored the three-parent dilemma created when a second woman donates an egg to provide the future baby’s mitochondrial DNA. Even though there are then three genetic parents, Dieter Egli, a senior research fellow with the New York Stem Cell Foundation, hastened to assure people there are still just two parents, that the additional DNA is “not necessary nor sufficient to claim parenthood.”

Read full, original article: Want Blue Eyes With That Baby? The Strange New World of Human Reproduction

 

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