Publication Type The Point Blog by Reproductive Technology
On February 1, 2018, Ian Sample, the science editor at The Guardian, wrote an article entitled “UK doctors select first women to have ‘three person babies.’” Dr. Joy Riley discusses how the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), Britain’s reproductive technologies regulatory agency, has given the go-ahead for “mitochondrial replacement therapy” and what bioethical questions this move brings up.
In the United Kingdom, patients pay for 60 percent of the 76,000 annual in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments rendered. Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the regulatory body overseeing both fertility treatment and embryo research, released in December its State of the Fertility Sector: 2016-17, a report detailing the health of the fertility sector in the UK. This report combined incident reporting with patient feedback and inspection results.
A team of researchers in Portland, Oregon recently became the first to attempt to create genetically modified human embryos. Dr. Joy Riley discusses how this work by is germline engineering and crosses a line that heretofore has been a bright red line.
There continue to be reports of new attempts to create life, sometimes labeled “synthetic” or “artificial” because the entity is not created the old-fashioned way. But is the manner in which a life begins the most important factor in how we regard that life? So if we label a life as “artificial,” is this also a way to devalue that life? Dr. David Prentice answers these questions in this week’s blog post.
Conducting research on embryos beyond 14 days’ gestation is against the law in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom; the U.S. has only “guidelines” recommending the 14-day limit. Now researchers and others are pushing against that limit. They find it too confining. Where did this rule/guideline originate?
In this week’s blog, Dr. D. Joy Riley gives the history of the 14-day rule, how technology is changing the guideline and why this matters.
Scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia published their work on development of an artificial womb, testing the functionality with pre-term lambs. The simple design, utilizing a biobag as the sterile enclosure, coupled with several advances in linking circulatory system and facilitating oxygenation, give this new artificial womb the potential for successful gestation of pre-term infants.
Despite the clear ethical problems, reports now show another three-parent child may have been born in China, and two more three-parent babies gestating in Ukraine. The practitioners of this cloning and embryo manipulation technology are pushing ahead, so Dr. David Prentice goes in-depth into the ethical and safety problems with this technique.
Imagine the heartache of learning that your new baby will die slowly and painfully before the age of seven, or much sooner, with the same disabling, degenerative disease that killed your last two children. Now, imagine all of this could be prevented by a newly developed technique that a world-renowned physician is willing to perform on your eggs to ensure your child’s good health. Does this sound too good to be true? Dr. Robert Cranston explains the ethical issues surrounding this new procedure.
Dr. Robert Cranston breaks down the numerous questions raised after a 72-year-old woman conceives her first child with the help of IVF. Should regulations be put in place for these types of situations?