Poll: Is "Three-Parent IVF" Ethical?

June 27, 2012

Scientists are testing a procedure that allows women with a genetic disorder conceive without passing the disease on to their children, and it involves using DNA from a "third parent." Is it ethical?

UK scientists have discovered a procedure that will help women with a rare genetic disorder conceive without passing the disease on to their children. The procedure-dubbed “three-parent IVF” in the press-involves swapping out a small set of faulty mitochondrial genes and replacing them with the genes of another woman. Scientists estimate that only 0.1% of the child’s DNA will originate from the third party, and it would not make the third party a legal or biological parent.

Faulty mitochondrial genes can cause a range of debilitating or fatal problems with the heart, liver, and kidneys. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics concluded that mitochondrial donation is ethical, and scientists hope to begin animal studies soon. Do you agree with the decision to allow mitochondrial donation for “three-parent IVF”?