November 7, 2016 – Three Parents


Anchor lead: Why are bioethicists thinking about the recent birth of a three parent child? Elizabeth Tracey reports

A child has been born that’s the result of two women’s eggs- much like one egg yolk and one egg white recombined, and a single father’s sperm   Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins, explains the situation.

Kahn: This new process is effectively taking the nuclear DNA, so the yolk, and putting it into a donated egg of a different woman, and then fertilized by the partner’s sperm. Contribution by two women, one man, never happened before, and a baby was born in the last few months. That procedure was prohibited in the United States, it’s illegal, so this team, which was mostly made up of US researchers and clinicians, went to Mexico.  It pushed people not to go through a process that would have been controlled and carefully overseen in the United States but rather pushed them to a place with no rules at all.    :34

Kahn says one big consideration about these kinds of interventions is they result in changes that can be inherited, so they affect not just one individual but perhaps the future of all humanity, so checks and balances are critical.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.