Biotechnology

Who Cares If a Baby Has Three Parents?

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Mitochrondria transfer
The Independent

The creepily named Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the United Kingdom is thinking about approving an in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique aimed at curing mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondria are tiny powerplants with their own small geneomes that float by the hundreds in the cytoplasm of cells. One in 2,500 children are born with diseases associated with broken mitochondria.

To prevent children from being born with these diseases, fertility specialists are proposing to implement two procedures: (1) maternal spindle transfer and (2) pro-nuclear transfer. In maternal spindle transfer genes are taken from nucleus the egg of the prospective mother whose mitochondria are defective and installed into a donor egg with healthy mitochondria from which nuclear genes have been removed. The reconstituted egg is then fertilized. In pro-nuclear transfer involves taking nuclear material from a fertilized egg before the nuclei of the sperm and egg have fused and installing it into a donated enucleated egg.

Treating mitochondrial diseases in embryos actually began in the United States in 2001 when researchers at a fertility clinic in New Jersey transfered cytoplasm containing healthy mitochondria from donor eggs into the eggs of women whose mitochondria were defective. Before the regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlawed it, nearly 20 children were born as a result of the procedure. In this case, healthy donor mitochondria were mixed with defective maternal mitochondria.

The Independent reports that researchers are now checking 17 of the now-teenaged children to see how they are faring. That's fine, but Independent is suggesting that if researchers find something wrong that would impact the decision to go forward with the similar technique in Britain. It shouldn't. From The Independnent:

The findings of the follow-up will be keenly scrutinised by Britain's fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which is charged with making sure that a similar technique called mitochondrial donation is safe.

"We do not know of any follow-up of children born as a result of cytoplasmic transfer but we would certainly want to know the results of such a follow-up," said an HFEA spokesman.

As noted, the earlier cytoplasm transfer technique involved mixing healthy and defective mitochondria; the new procedures do not. Nevetheless, the results of the follow up study will surely be of interest to people who want to avail themselves of these techiques, but the decision to use these IVF techniques to prevent mitochondrial diseases should be made by the would-be parents. After all, they are the people who will reap the rewards and bear the burdens of being parents.

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  1. Who Cares If a Baby Has Three Parents?

    Lawyers arguing an alimony case?

    1. Gay couples?

      1. Heather has three mommies.

    2. I’ve been told Jesus also cares.

      1. Apparently those people didn’t read Ezekiel 18.

    3. I would imagine people participating in this sort of fertility treatment would have their paperwork in order. It’s a bit more complicated than sperm donation.

    4. Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck?

  2. You know who else cared who/what your parents were.

    1. Your fiancee’s parents?

  3. Nonsense, such a child does not have “three” parents. It has two. The genetic father and the genetic mother.

    The contribution of the donor egg woman’s mitochondrial DNA is infinitessimally small compared to the genetic information carried by the 23 human chromosomes.
    Besides that, mitochondria exist in other species, not just humans.
    In theory one could find suitable mitochondria from an ape or another mammal, but the egg itself wouldn’t be fetilizable by human sperm.

      1. If you could take the mitochondrial DNA from a chimp and put it into a human egg, the resulting baby would be 100% human.

        Mitochondria just don’t do that much.

        1. That was too rational and well-thought-out than a comment employing the them “Joseph Stalin’s Humanzee Experiments” deserved.

          1. I regret that I did not bother to click on your link.

          2. That was too rational and well-thought-out than a comment employing the them “Joseph Stalin’s Humanzee Experiments” deserved.

            Maybe if you had said ‘Manpanzee’.

        2. They do determine how fast you can run/ride your bike.

          Ok, I’m pretty sure that’s true but not absolutely.

    1. Yes, but why let a reasonable appreciation of the facts get in the way of exerting their authority over the matter?

      1. I think the real reason it was banned probably had more to do with them thinking it was a slippery slope to human cloning, than a concern about three parents.

        We can’t have people doing pro-nuclear transfers on donor eggs, because that’s one step away from doing pro-nuclear transfers on zygotes.

        1. And you know what pro-nuclear transfers on zygotes gets us? A government created army of pig men. That is what.

          1. Yes. Human cloning will lead inevitably to armies of brainwashed clone soldiers.
            George Lucas told me so.

            1. The only issue is can anyone stop Pro Libertate’s army of python men.

              1. If I were y’all, I’d be more worried about Warty’s army of DoomCock soldiers.

            2. Fine, just as long as it doesn’t lead to another Episode II.

        2. So. I think I have the right to clone myself- as does my wife. We’re the two best people we know- why not let us make more of us?

        3. I think the real reason it was banned probably had more to do with them thinking it was a slippery slope to human cloning, than a concern about three parents.

          I think there are some pretty fucked up, awesome, or awesomely fucked up things you could do to a human’s metabolism if you could engineer a few mitochondrion appropriately and transfer them.

          I think the notion of experimenting to get this sort of thing right is/could be pretty horrific as well.

          IDK that this was the fear of the ban historically, but it’s a decent enough reason to keep a decent amount of visibility/regulation in the field.

          1. Yeah, but the technique involved doesn’t actually involve transferring mitochondria. That would be fucking hard. There are lots of mitochondria in a cell and they are small.

            They are taking the mother’s DNA and transferring it into a donor egg that contains the mitochondria. It would be a lot easier to engineer the human DNA than the mitochondrial DNA.

            1. They are taking the mother’s DNA and transferring it into a donor egg that contains the mitochondria.

              This depends on the particular procedure and is a little bit of semantic/relativistic nonsense.

              It would be a lot easier to engineer the human DNA than the mitochondrial DNA.

              Huh? Whole mitochondrial genomes can easily be engineered de novo. Whole mitochondria can be engineerd, grown, harvested, transferred, injected w/o the need for any human DNA or a fertilized zygote/embryo.

              It’s easy to conceive of a mitochondrial genome with steroid or antibiotic regulatory mechanisms that would fail or couldn’t possibly be implemented/used in the nucleus.

              The whole premise of mitochondrial transfer is that it’s easier to just mix good mitochondria in than try to re-engineer human metabolism from the nucleus out.

              1. From the original article:
                To prevent children from being born with these diseases, fertility specialists are proposing to implement two procedures: (1) maternal spindle transfer and (2) pro-nuclear transfer. In maternal spindle transfer genes are taken from nucleus the egg of the prospective mother whose mitochondria are defective and installed into a donor egg with healthy mitochondria from which nuclear genes have been removed. The reconstituted egg is then fertilized. In pro-nuclear transfer involves taking nuclear material from a fertilized egg before the nuclei of the sperm and egg have fused and installing it into a donated enucleated egg.

                1. Nobody is talking about transferring mitochondria, whether or not it is theoretically feasible. The procedures we’re talking about involve moving nuclear chromosomes into cells with healthy mitochondria in them.

                  1. Nobody is talking about transferring mitochondria, whether or not it is theoretically feasible.

                    Not theoretically feasible, practically feasible. Transferring organelles between organisms (or their cells) or fusing the metabolic machinery of one group of cells with the genetic machinery of another is older than engineering genomic DNA.

                    Whether you transfer the nucleus to non-native mitochondria or transfer the mitochondria to a non-native cell is moot. Especially in light of what I was saying that the very existence of the technique demonstrates that introducing foreign mitochondria to a native nucleus (or introducing a foreign nucleus to native mitochondria) is far easier than trying to fix the problem through the organisms genome, if it’s even possible at all.

            2. I say this as someone who has engineered exogenous proteins into the mitochondria of eukaryotes.

  4. It gets a little bit closer to more involved genetic manipulation, which raises messy ethical issues.

    I don’t know the answer.

  5. Anyone know why it was banned by the FDA? Neither this article nor the linked one say why.

    1. I’m guessing because Jesus.

      1. yeah because the FDA is all about Jesus not the precautionary principle or anything.

        I am guessing because the FDA bans anything that is new and has any possibility of failing.

        1. Nothing says precaution like totally banning research into something. That’s about as cautious as it gets.

    2. I: FDA banned on the grounds that it was an unapproved gene therapy.

      1. I found this to be a helpful overview.

        1. Thanks for the link. So basically, pro-nuclear transfer IS cloning. Or pretty damn close. (The DNA comes from another zygote vs. a skin cell). I suspect that is the real reason.

      2. But really, banned because GENETICALLY ENGINEERED BABIES!!!! AAAAIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!

      1. *ahem* “You didn’t build that.”

      2. Ironically, the FDA claims authority to ban that procedure because it deems the resulting embryos to be mere objects.

        Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  6. You are the burden of my generation
    I sure do love you
    But let’s get that straight-
    Paul Simon.

    I tell it to my kids every night. It’s a vocabulary lesson.

  7. After all, they are the people who will reap the rewards and bear the burdens of being parents.

    Not in the UK. The state, being responsible for the healthcare of it’s citizens, would bear ultimate financial responsibility for children whose health is negatively impacted by this technology. This is one of the pitfalls of single payer healthcare systems: the state has a vested interest in the health of its subjects and therefore makes claims on what can and cannot be done to, for, and by them. Progressives of the “My body, my choice,” mindset would do well to consider this before advocating for a single payer system in the United States, but shortsightedness is unfortunately not covered by any heath care system.

    1. Yes, but the problem there is the underlying decision to be a welfare state- NOT the medicine. That is, of course, the end game of nannies. they desire to create a state where EVERYTHING is potentially their business so it must be regulated.

    2. Have you bothered to actually look into this procedure and quantify from a scientific standpoint what the actual risks actually are?

      Or are you just assuming that because you don’t know much about genetics that it’s all a giant mystery and anything could happen, thus scary?

      1. I don’t think Jose was expressing an opinion on the safety of the procedure, just the perverse logic of single payer.

    3. Not in the UK. The state, being responsible for the healthcare of it’s citizens, would bear ultimate financial responsibility for children whose health is negatively impacted by this technology. This is one of the pitfalls of single payer healthcare systems: the state has a vested interest in the health of its subjects and therefore makes claims on what can and cannot be done to, for, and by them.

      If I rob you at gun point and then use the money to pay your cable bill, I am henceforth within my rights to kick in your door at 3am to watch your tv. I have a vested interest in your cable service after all. That is precisely the logic of the progressives, socialists and assorted statists.

  8. Who pays for the kids when the experiment goes wrong?

    1. And exactly who got these kids’ consent for conducting medical experiments on them?

      But who worries about concepts of personal autonomy and consent when it stands in the way of science?

      1. “Look! I didn’t *ask* to be born!”

        1. t: Correct. No child ever consented to be born, much less to be born with the genes their parents passed onto them.

          1. See my response below. We assume the child consents to be born because we assume existence is better than non existence. But that doesn’t get you any further than conception. And sure, they have to be born with some genes, but where do you get the right to deem their consent to changing what they would have gotten by default.

            I really don’t see away around that beyond “fuck you its science”, which I don’t find very compelling.

            1. We assume the child consents to be born because we assume existence is better than non existence

              No we don’t at all. The size of your unfounded assumptions are enormous here, you must realize this. Social contract much?

              but where do you get the right to deem their consent to changing what they would have gotten by default.

              By being the parent, and clearly the conscientious creator of said human.

              I really don’t see away around that beyond “fuck you its science”, which I don’t find very compelling.

              I don’t really find your “fuck you it’s religion” sentiment, that underlies your argument, very compelling. It’s certainly not a liberty argument.

              1. If you think I am talking about religion, you are a fucking idiot and are not worth responding to. This has nothing to do with religion. It is about personal autonomy.

                You like liberty right up until your science religion tells you otherwise.

            2. You can’t correct your having been born, but you can correct your being alive.

        2. True. But did you ask to be the subject of a genetic experiment? We can take as a given that existence is better than non-existence and therefore permission to be created can be assumed. If not, then yes, the act of conception is immoral.

          But this is more than conception. Even if we assume that everyone consents to being created, that is not the same as consenting to being the subject of a medical procedure. This issue goes to the heart of all of this. I think you are probably okay if you are talking about a reliable treatment for a known harm. Then it is no different than treating an unconscious person you find at an accident. The doctors can safely assume the guy consents to them getting him out of the coma and setting his broken leg. But if it is making a designer baby or doing something experimental, I don’t see how you get around the consent issue. I never consented to having my genes manipulated to make me more musically gifted or six inches tall so I could have a better shot at playing in the NBA, so where do my parents get off doing it?

          1. John,

            I did not get a choice in many things in my upbringing. My parents chose to have me in a country that practiced conscription and had an ongoing insurgency and occasional yellow fever epidemics.

            I did not choose the neighborhood they lived in, the political party they supported, not my dad’s decision to take an active role in purging a fascist group’s ghost employees from his university’s payrolls that made me the target of kidnap threats.

            I did not choose the locale for the camping trip that ended in me riding on a bumpy road with no painkiller and the splintered ends of a broken femur shredding my muscles.

            It is the nature of childhood that lots of life altering and potentially life-ending things happen to us that we did not consent to. And agonizing over it will result in nothing but the worst navel-gazing paralysis.

            Children receive experimental treatments frequently. The field of pediatric medicine is chock full of treatments that started out as experiments where the outcome wasn’t very clear (and occasionally harmful).

            1. Your parents consenting to an experimental treatment to stop a known harm like cancer is not what we are talking about. The child is not able to consent but the parents are able to act for them and presume that yes they don’t want to die of cancer and will take the shot. That is entirely differnt than saying your parents can decide that you really need to be taller or have different genes and effectively be a different person.

              If you want to say that we should grant parents total autonomy over their kids like old Roman law, well there might be some merit to that. But no one is arguing that. What is happening is people like Bailey are seeing the God Science and having their eyes glaze over and jumping into line where they wouldn’t otherwise do so.

                1. Then perhaps this is a case where consent can be presumed. But that doesn’t disprove my larger point about designer babies and medical experiments.

                  1. Whats wrong with designer babies? Suppose I wanted my children to have blonde and blue eyes like myself and I reproduce with a fellow blonde hair blue eyed woman maximize the odds. That’s a designer baby too. But an abomination?

                    1. What is wrong with designer babies is that you have no right to impose your will on someone’s existence without their consent.

          2. where do my parents get off doing it?

            While I understand this, I would have to say “by creating you”?

            The issue of the rights of children is an interesting one. Can your parents force their child to eat his broccoli? Not play in a busy street? I do not think that all of a child’s rights are subject to their parents but do not know where that line should be drawn.

            Where do I get off home schooling my children? If it is wrong to manipulate your genes to make you a better musician is it also wrong to force a child into piano lessons for the same reason? Or basketball camp?

            1. The analogy doesn’t work Marshal. Going to band camp is temporary. Changing someone’s genes is permanent. Whatever a parents’ power over a child, the fact that it extends to forcing temporary behavior in the child’s own good says nothing about whether it extends to the ability to permanently alter the child.

              Does a parent have the power to cut off a limb? Force the child to get a non-removable tattoo? I don’t think so. And that is what changing the child’s genes is analogous too, not band camp.

              1. Fucking and creating a child is analogous to an irremovable tattoo as well. People with a genetic predisposition should be sterilized perhaps? I mean, they’re potential children don’t consent to have that disease so who are they to reproduce?

      2. Is it more ethical to permit a would-be mother who is aware of her genetic deficiency to gamble on her child’s heatlh? Would it be ethical to sterilize her and remove the possibility?

        1. Again, if you are talking about a reliable treatment to a known harm, then yes I think consent can be assumed. But I don’t see how you can assume consent to any sort of experimental treatment or to any sort of elective treatment to create characteristics the parents find desirable.

          1. Theoretically, what are the risks?
            The way I see it if the embryo actually develops into a baby, the risk that there is anything wrong with it caused by the procedure is miniscule to the point of insignificance.
            Almost everything that could go wrong with this technique is simply going to result in a dead embryo, not a live baby with some wierd condtion.

            1. So Hazel, as long as the procedure only risks death, it is totally okay to perform it on you without your consent?

              1. Embryos die all the time. They are called “miscarriages”.

                1. Sure Hazel. People die too. It is called murder. But it doesn’t make it any less problematic.

            2. You are assuming that the embryo is not a life, in which case there is no point in having the debate since last i looked there were no ethical issues relating to doing medical experiments on regular groups of cells. The ethics only arise when there is some kind of human life involved.

              1. Every time every woman gets pregnant she is risking having a miscarriage.

                Maybe we should ban pregnancy as a violation of the fetuses rights.

                1. Hazel you are completely missing the point. Just because there is an inherent risk in something doesn’t then make it okay to increase that risk without the other person’s consent. Kids die in car accidents every day. But that fact doesn’t make it okay for a parent to drive their kid into a river.

                  Your argument is idiotic.

                  1. So you’re basically saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to do things that increase the risk of miscarriage.

                    I don’t think you realize what a radical change in the law that would actually be. You would have to criminalize pregnant women eating shellfish and changing litter boxes.

                    ALL SORTS OF THINGS cause increases in the miscarriage rate. Your philosophy would mean that pregnant woman would legally be forbidden from doing any of those things because the fetus can’t consent to having it’s liklihood of death increased.

                    1. ALL SORTS OF THINGS cause increases in the miscarriage rate.

                      All sorts of things increase your chances of dying an unnatural death Hazel. That doesn’t give me the right to shoot you in the head or administer an experimental drug that may or may not result in your death.

                    2. So basically, you are saying “Yes, it should be illegal for pregnant women to eat shellfish.”

                2. Every time every woman gets pregnant she is risking having a miscarriage.

                  Yep. There is absolutely no difference between a positive action on the part of an individual and a natural occurrence.

                  1. When a pregnant woman changes the litter box, she it taking a positive action that increases the risk of having a miscarriage.

                    Should we make it illegal for pregnant women to change litter boxes?

                    1. Changing a liter box is not taking an experimental medical procudure that may result in the subject’s death without that subject’s consent.

                      Your totally missing the point Hazel and making a dishonest argument. By your logic, since a parent can speed with their child in the car (thus increasing the chances of the child dying in an auto accident), it is totally okay to conduct medical experiments on the child. I mean hay, lots of things can kill you right?

                    2. What difference does it make if it is an “experimental medical procedure” or an everyday activity?

                      The only meaningful distinction is what quanitifiable risk it creates of harm to the fetus. ALL SORTS OF THINGS increase the risk to fetuses.

                      Do you have any data suggesting the risks from thie “experimental medical procedure” are greater than the risks created by legal activities like eating shellfish and changing litter boxes?
                      Because you should know that the risks are great enough that pregnant women are advised not to do those things.

                    3. What difference does it make if it is an “experimental medical procedure” or an everyday activity?

                      The difference is that they both can kill you. Just because I am at some risk of dying every day, doesn’t give you the right to create a new risk of my dying without my consent.

                      I mean Jesus Hazel, you can’t be this fucking stupid. Can you?

                    4. WTF John, “the difference is that they are the same” ???

                      The risk of a mother having a miscairrage due to eating bad shellfish might very well be GREATER than the risk of having a miscairrage as a result of this procedure, but you think the procedure should be banned because it’s “medical” and “experimental”, while eating shellfish should be legal. That makes no sense.

                    5. Hazel. Just because the risk of something occurring is inherent, doesn’t mean it is okay for someone to add extra risk onto that over and above the inherent risk.

                      And the risk created by this is a HELL of a lot more than from eating shell fish. Your argument boils down to that because there is always a risk of a miscarriage and some things create a miniscule additional risk, it is totally okay to create a much greater risk here.

                      Whenever the subject comes to ethics or philosophy you just get dumb as a post. I don’t get it.

                    6. John, you are dumb as a post.

                      A woman over 40 has a 50% chance of miscarriage.
                      That’s up from 10% in your early 20s.

                      That alone is going to dwarf the change in miscarriage rate caused by this procedure. By your logic it should be illegal for older women to try to get pregnant.

                    7. The way I see it if the embryo actually develops into a baby, the risk that there is anything wrong with it caused by the procedure is miniscule to the point of insignificance.

                      This is grotesquely presumptuous especially for a treatment that only works theoretically. You could engineer babies to suffer a form of mitochondrial collapse selectively triggered by the administration of everyday antibiotics. You wouldn’t find out until the kid got an ear infection at age 4 and amoxicillin killed them. It’d be awesome to pretend it wouldn’t happen, the same way it would be awesome to pretend that Thalidomide didn’t happen. And while Thalidomide doesn’t mean we should forego all of clinical pharmacology, it does indicate that we should find ways to exert caution when performing experimental therapy.

                      I realize many of these arguments are the one’s used by anti-GMO types and hyper-precautionary addicts, but this is one place where we are talking about the core creation of a human and human property rights. While it’s nice to say all bets are off at this level, I doubt any of us wants fetal-engineering anarchy. And, if you are pro-anarchy, I would think you would want the most-free leaning of libertarians as regulators if you had to choose regulators.

                    8. You could engineer babies to suffer a form of mitochondrial collapse selectively triggered by the administration of everyday antibiotics.

                      Is there a plausible story supported by biological theory that would explain how that could happen accidentally?
                      If not, then shut up.
                      You can’t just make up speculative risks ungrounded in science and claim they are real risks.

                    9. You can’t just make up speculative risks ungrounded in science and claim they are real risks.

                      You’re making speculative assurances in ungrounded science and claiming they obviate any existing risk. You narrow reality to a tidy set of outcomes which is easily conceived as being far from the spectrum of real outcomes. Outcomes that are the very reason the therapies are being invented in the first place.

                      Generally, I’m as willing to experiment on or even execute theoretical future humans as the next guy. However, we already shove our tax debt off on our(?) children and metaphorically or actually jail them until they attend prison public schools and get careers to pay off their social debt (or go to prison). I wouldn’t pretend government would get the oversight right any more than I would pretend that people wouldn’t exploit engineering their own children for personal gains, but it seems that the scales are already tipped very heavily in the existing generations’ favor and I don’t think exercising some level of self-restraint/regulation would be immodest. If I have to choose to exercise it, I choose to exercise it in places where the payoff is largely speculative if not outright fraudulent.

                      I assume by your silence wrt to being pro-anarchy that you’re adamantly in support of wholly unregulated human embryo engineering? Even if such a situation is demonstrably dangerous or reckless?

                      Let me know when your embryonic stem cell holdings finally pay off, would you?

      1. Is that what the contract says?

        Is that what the law says?

        I know that the law says that if others refuse or can’t take care of the kid then the taxpayer is stuck with the bill.

    2. If the experiment goes wrong, the overwhelmingly most like result is a miscarriage. The single celled zygote simply isn’t going to develop into a baby unless everything is nearly perfect.

      The next most likely result is that the baby still has the same mitochondrial disease as the mother.

      WAY down the list are the potential for birth defects, for which there is already a default risk rate in the general population anyway.

      What makes you think that the probability of a birth defect is any greater for nuclear transfer than the background rate?

      1. Who cares. What makes you think you can run an experimental procedure without the subject’s consent? And if the subject can’t consent, what gives you the right to assume consent?

        If you are ever incapacitated, are we free to presume your consent to any medical experiment your doctors’ dream up?

        1. How dare parents get pregnant without the consent of the zygote?

          1. See above. Presuming consent to exist is not the same as presuming consent to being the subject of a medical experiment you fucking half wit.

            1. OMG!!! “medical experiment”! Scary scary!

              What makes you think the risks of THIS medical experiment are any greater to a child than a normal pregnancy? Do you have any data, or you you just think that “medical experiment” sounds inherently scary?

              1. What makes you think the risks of THIS medical experiment are any greater to a child than a normal pregnancy?

                Maybe it is not. If there is no risks associated with it, then I don’t have a problem with it. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. More importantly, it is not the argument you are making.

                Yes, hazel, there is nothing wrong with trying risk free treatments. It is the ones that create the risk of death that are a problem.

                1. Go back up to my original post.
                  The likely risks are (1) greater chance of miscarriage, (2) the procedure doesn’t work.

                  Now if you could do the science and show that there was a statistically significant increase in the risk of Down’s syndrome or something to that effect, then you would have a case.

                  My cases is that an increased miscarrage rate shouldn’t matter.
                  Are you aware that for women over 40, the miscairrage rate is around 50% ?
                  Just getting OLDER makes it more likely that the fetus will die.

                  1. Greater risk of miscarriage is a greater risk of death. Where do you get off presuming consent where the procedure is creating a greater risk of death? Can I run a medical procedure on you that creates a risk of death without your consent?

                    You act like miscarriage isn’t a risk, since well they can happen anyway. That is completely idiotic and illogical. You could die today too. But that fact doesn’t mean it is okay for me to create a greater risk of that happening without your consent.

                    1. Ok, maybe we should make it illegal for anyone over 25 to get pregnant because by doing so they are knowingly exposing their fetuses to increased risk of death.

        2. Did he leave a living will? What, zygotes have no means by which they can pre-existentially let their desires be known?

          1. They have no means. So maybe that means the default position should be no? Since when do we get to presume consent?

            You guys are throwing personal autonomy out the fucking window here because some guy in a lab coat told you so.

            1. I’m not suggesting there’s no moral quandary here, merely that it’s a matter for the parents and their spiritual advisors to decide and not for bureaucrats with the FDA (much less any body named the “Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority”).

              1. Sure. If I want to cut my kid’s arm off or give him a full facial tattoo, that is between me and my spiritual advisers then, right?

                That is one way of looking at it. And I am not sure it is necessarily wrong. But understand that is really what you are saying.

              2. I’m not suggesting there’s no moral quandary here, merely that it’s a matter for the parents and their spiritual advisors to decide and not for bureaucrats with the FDA (much less any body named the “Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority”).

                How about if the FDA were an extension of the Judicial?

                Obviously, we can’t educate a grand jury of peers every time someone changes a single A/G/C/T, so why not establish a council that adjudicates substantial equivalence based on judicial/legal precedence? Only when you’ve tried or are proposing trying a substantially different therapy can a jury of your peers decide if you’re fubaring the human race.

            2. ou guys are throwing personal autonomy out the fucking window

              … uh, you cannot have personal autonomy without a person. And, whether you like it or not, an unfertilized egg… hell, even a zygote… are not people yet. They have no autonomy.

  9. I’ve said before, we’ve always had the technical means to separate having children from the marital family unit and the marital act. It’s just that the available technical means have expanded – from having sex with your neighbor’s husband as in the old days, to various forms of “gene therapy” today.

    What the law should say about all this – I haven’t actually concretized an opinion.

  10. What the law should say about all this – I haven’t actually concretized an opinion.

    What a cop out. I’m not Catholic but even I’ll agree with whatever the Pope thinks.

  11. OK wow this makes a lot of sense dude.

    http://www.AnonCrypt.tk

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