The Problem with Three Parents

I think there are two kinds of “new” that we experience. The first is inventive, innovative, and has the potential to provide something that is truly lifegiving. The second seems new, but is really just an old idea or method presented in a different way, in hopes that some good can come of it. Now, it is certainly true that much good can come from second chances, but that is not always the case. Here, I think we see an example of that second kind of “new,” without any of the good.

The New York Times recently published an article titled: “Birth of Baby with Three Parent’s DNA Marks Success for Banned Technique.” Here is some clarification on what happens (emphasis added): The maternal spindle transfer technique involves the extraction of the genetic material from a mother’s egg, which is then inserted into a donor egg in which the maternal spindle has been removed and discarded. The reconstituted egg then is fertilized by the father’s sperm before implantation in the mother. The procedure is known as “three-parent IVF.” This term is not preferred by the scientists involved with the procedures, but it is a true representation of what is happening.

I have a guideline that I follow: I never say something that someone else has said more clearly or better. So, I give you a statement from Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of Westminster. He issued a statement on behalf of the bishops after a 2015 ruling by the House of Commons to allow this technique to occur, stating that “Whilst the Church recognises the suffering that mitochondrial diseases bring and hopes that alternative methods of treatment can be found, it remains opposed on principle to these procedures where the destruction of human embryos is part of the process.

There are a number of frightening evils present in this technique. First it requires the removal and destruction of an egg. The second egg is then remade using the material from the first. The end result is that the “waste” from each egg is discarded. Another significant concern is the invasive work that is required to accomplish what is needed. Yet another concern – the chief concern in my opinion – is the removal, in a sense, of the parents. With the removal of the conjugal act, there is no opportunity for the couple to unite as God intended. The entire process takes place solely in a medical facility, and the donors are only needed when they are taking their part in the procedure.

My concerns always exist with the current situations we find ourselves in, but also in the worrisome future that can be created. An example is with abortion and what has happened in East Asia. The legality of the act is no longer being contested on a societal scale. And, it is now permissible to choose to abort a child based on the gender. Recent data shows that there are over 55 million missing women from the last census taken in that area. This technique is also starting to take place in North America. It has been banned in only 2 states.

As of the writing of this article, there is no legislation in the works to lift the FDA ban on three-parent IVF. Please join me in praying that we do not reach that point.

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