The US Health Department has a large decision to make. They must figure out whether genetic modification during in-vitro fertilization is something that should be done or not. Allowing this to happen would mean the baby would have three blood-related parents instead of just two.
There are genes and mutations that we see in DNA every day. If you are planning on having a child, you wouldn’t want to pass bad genetics on right? Scientists feel that they may have come up with a way to make sure that does not happen. When a baby is created in-vitro there are two different components that make up the embryo. There is the DNA from the father and then the DNA from the mother. What many people do not know is that there is also DNA that comes from the mother known as mitochondrial DNA. This is the part of the DNA that houses the potential for diseases and disorders later in life. Scientists now are testing the idea of having three parents contribute to the embryo.
If the mother finds out that she has a disease or disorder that can be carried over to her baby from her DNA, someday she may have the option to have a third woman come in and have that woman’s mitochondrial DNA to be implanted in the embryo as well. The researchers of the testing feel that this would be beneficial and would help to lower the number of cases with genetic disorders or get rid of them all together.
This is still an experimental theory at the moment. They have had success with primates but now need the approval of the US Health Department. Some are skeptical and hesitant to this idea because they feel that it could lead to “designer” babies down the road. They are afraid that if there is a parent out there that doesn’t like their nose or their height, they will be able to cherry pick good genes from someone else.