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    Friday, September 09, 2005

    Human Embryo from 2 Mothers

    Imagine the possibilities!

    The headline is more exciting than the reality though. The child won't, from my (extremely limited) scientific understanding, really share the traits of the two women equally. Also, sperm is still necessary, so it's not the great lesbian hope I thought it might be.

    Because mitochondria are inherited only from the mother, the Newcastle team's research will focus on preventing defective mitochondria being passed on to children, specifically to treat muscular dystrophy.
    The researchers will first fuse sperm with an egg taken from a woman at risk of passing on a mitochondrial disease. Before the sperm and egg form an embryo, they will be transplanted into a healthy egg taken from another woman, leaving the defective mitochondria behind. The embryo can then develop as normal.


    And, of course, the systematic elimination of anything through "breeding practices", even muscular dystrophy, feels a little scary.

    Not to mention: if the woman with Egg A is so intent on not having a child with MD, why doesn't she adopt a child without MD? One the one hand, I'm for women having as many reproductive choices as they can. And part of me understands the desire to see what a child made with your genetic material would be like. On the other, why is it that we reserve maternal primacy for biological motherhood? It seems that medical science spends an awful lot of time finding ways for rich women to have babies come out of their bodies (and now, for perfecting those babies).

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