Kent reproductive law expert cautions against use of ‘three-parent’ terminology

29th January 2015

Kent reproductive law expert Dr Kirsty Horsey welcomes a parliamentary vote on legalising mitochondrial donation techniques but cautions against use of ‘three parent’ terminology.

Commenting in response to the article, ‘Legalise three-parent babies, say Nobel winners‘ in The Times today, Dr Horsey said: ‘The Parliamentary vote on regulations to allow mitochondrial donation, potentially making the UK the world’s first country to legalise this life-changing treatment, is excellent news for carriers of mitochondrial diseases, who previously have had to leave their children’s health to chance, and cope with extreme sickness and even death of their children.

‘This is a progressive step in both science and should it happen law. Other embryo screening techniques are already used in IVF to allow some parents to give birth to healthy children free from certain serious conditions. We also allow people to use sperm or egg donors, or surrogates, for the same reason, among others.

‘We should note that this process has been thoroughly ethically reviewed, and steer clear of the ‘three parents’ or ‘three mothers’ label, remembering that this is a technique that allows women the chance to bring a healthy child into the world.’

Dr Horsey, a Senior Law Lecturer at Kent Law School, has research expertise in the regulation of human reproduction and genetic technologies. She has recently secured funding to investigate surrogacy law in practice.

Dr Horsey’s latest book, Revisiting the Regulation of Human Fertilisation and Embryology, is due for publication by Routledge in June.