Professor Darren Griffin, a genetics and fertility expert at the University of Kent, has commented on the government’s decision to allow the creation of babies using DNA from three people. The new IVF technique could help eradicate inherited diseases within a family by altering the DNA of all subsequent generations, however critics have suggested that it will increase the risk of unforeseen health problems as well as raising the prospect of “designer babies”.
Professor Griffin said: ‘This new technology raises new and fascinating ethical issues however arguments and horror stories of “slippery slope” and “designer babies” have been rolled out at times like these for decades.
‘Any sober appraisal would come to the conclusion that such fears have not come to pass in all the time they have been proposed. This has been partly because not only has UK science led the way in the development of this technology, but also so has the legal and ethical framework that considers its implications.
‘The important thing to realise is what we’re talking about is less than a fifth of a per cent of the genes from the so called “3rd parent” are involved here. Like any other child, these children will have only two biological parents, not three. The alternative of not implementing this form of medicine is that children will be born with these debilitating diseases.
‘As with many aspects of life, a reasonable consideration of the balance between implementing and not implementing a new innovation must always be considered.’
Darren Griffin is Professor of Genetics within the University’s School of Biosciences.