The very idea that one might conceive a child using the DNA from three parents is one that makes us shudder. But let’s check our immediate instincts and think the problem through. The announcement today about the transfer of DNA from one egg to another in order to avoid the damage caused by faulty mitochondria will be the source of much discussion. Those of you who want to look behind the headlines might first try the good lay account at Nature News.
In order to review the Church’s principles you may want to look at Donum Vitae, a CDF document.
You will notice that, although the eggs used are fertilised, the fusing of the maternal and paternal DNA, and therefore conception, has not taken place. But there are plenty of other issues to consider: artificial fertilisation, the ethical and social questions arising from three sources of DNA, and our rights to tamper with the natural process of conception. And this is all to be weighed against the potential benefits for which the procedure was developed. It is not an issue on which I would care to give a snap answer. But you may well have some thoughts to share with us.