The UK has won permission to create an embryo with the genetic material from two mothers. You say, and why would they want to do this? It is to do research which seeks to prevent mothers from passing on genetic diseases to their unborn children. Of course this kind of research has ethical implications. First, here we go again with creating life for the sole purpose of destroying it. The embryo is human life, nascent human life, which some say is exempt from protection and others say is worthy of protection. Is human life a raw material/resource to be created and used for research? Second, we are intentionally creating diseased human life to conduct our research on. And finally, the concern grows over trying to create a ‘disease free’ population. Which genetic diseases are we trying not to pass on? Especially since many diseases have a genetic component to them, are not necessarily genetically linked? Is short stature (which is genetic) a disease? What about down’s syndrome? Baldness? Where will the ethical lines be drawn and who gets to decide?
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.