US Facing the Three-Genetic Parent Problem

I’ve written several times in the past years about how new technologies have raised the prospects of a child having three genetically related parents.   Most of the discussion has occurred in the UK, but the debate has now reached the US.

The idea here is that egg cells have both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA.   Mitochondrial DNA is passed from only from mother to child (and indeed, as I recall it is used to track lineages, sometimes over hundreds of years.)  Fathers do not contribute mitochondrial DNA.

Nuclear DNA in an egg combines with DNA from the sperm when the egg is fertilized.   Nuclear DNA controls virtually all of the things we think about when we think about genetic heritability–height, weight, eye color, hair color and so on.  I believe that, to the extent more complicated things are also controlled by DNA (say tendency towards cancer or alcoholism) it is also nuclear DNA that matters.

But mitochondrial DNA is important.   In particular it can matter because there are diseases that are transmitted via mitochondrial DNA.   And a woman who carries these diseases will pass them on to her children.

As the earlier posts discuss, this has spurred the development of techniques where the nucleus of an egg cell with healthy mitochondrial DNA is extracted and replaced with the nucleus of an egg from a woman with problematic mitochondrial DNA.    The end result is an egg that has healthy mitochondrial DNA.

This egg can then be used in IVF to create an embryo.   That embryo will have genetic material from three people–one male who provided the sperm, and two females, one who provided mitochondrial DNA and the other who provided nuclear DNA.

The article and the earlier posts sum up the controversy, I think.  I’d only stress that there are two separate questions here. I think we’d do well to keep them separate in discussions.

First, there is a question of safety/readiness of technology.   I don’t want to minimize these questions, but in the end they seem to me less interesting for discussion.    All medical advances have to be tested for safety before you move to using them on people.   And we frequently have debates about whether technologies are safe enough.   We know what that debate looks/sounds like.

The second issue, it seems to me, is more unusual–it’s the issue of ethics/eugenics.   Is this a dangerous step on a path to designer babies?   Here I think the discussion is particularly interesting.

One bioethicist–Sheldon Krimsky–makes an argument that resonate with other discussions here.   His general observation is that this technology is potentially quite troubling and also unnecessary.    If he’s right about being unnecessary, then of course it is much easier to conclude that the troubling technology should be rejected.

In support of his position that it is unnecessary, he makes two points.  First, he identified PIGD (that’s preimplantation genetic diagnosis) as a technology that ensures that embryos with more defective mitochondrial DNA could be weeded out.   (I wonder about this because as I understand it, all of the eggs that a woman produces would have the same mitochondrial defects, unless they were random mutations.)

But more importantly, Dr. Krimsky observes that you could avoid this problem just by using donor eggs–eggs from someone who didn’t have any mitochondrial DNA issues.   Yet Dr. Krimsky recognizes the Achilles heel of this argument:

   “There’s that genetic chauvinism that says unless my DNA is in the child, it will not be truly my child,” he said.

It is “genetic chauvinism” (as Dr. Krimsky calls it) that is driving the demand for this technology.

That sentiment (I’m not sure I’ll call it genetic chauvinism myself) is frequently expressed here.   So I think it’s important to recognize that this demand for technology is a driven by that very view.   The insistence that only those who are genetically related are the real parents of the child, that all other sorts of parents are somehow false or secondary reinforces the assertion that only a genetic child will do and so, access to the technology is indispensable.

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71 responses to “US Facing the Three-Genetic Parent Problem

  1. “(I wonder about this because as I understand it, all of the eggs that a woman produces would have the same mitochondrial defects, unless they were random mutations.)”

    I think you’re right. All the embryos should have the exact same mtDNA except for mutations.

    • According to this article I found (link), eggs start out with just a few mitochondria which then multiply as the egg matures during oogenesis, ending up with hundreds in the mature egg. So some eggs have more good ones than others, and PGD might be able to check use the embryo with the highest percentage of working mitochondria. It should be as legal as any use of PGD, and free, but certainly never required even if the insurance company offers it for free. I think we should affirm that everyone has a right to have natural genetic offspring, without having to use PGD or IVF or donors or improved gametes, and only allow it for a few limited diseases.

  2. OK but what is interesting is that only one woman gets to have the maternal relationship with the child and that is the woman whose maternity is able to be established with mitochondrial DNA. The maternal contributor is responsible for the mitochondrial DNA not the paternal contributor. I don’t know what you’d call the third female who actually has the larger genetic contribution. She’s a parent for sure but she is not the mother.

    We would need a third parental title for generic genetic other like Gother. Mother Gother and Father.

    Oh and maybe a fourth category for someone who is not responsible for the child’s existence and is not the source of the child’s biology but wishes to claim a parental role none the less Nother, Mother, Father, Gother and Nother (female) Nather (male) and for the type not wishing to have a gender identity how about Neither?

    • The woman that raises the child would normally contribute the eggs and therefore the chromosomal DNA, which also establishes genetic maternity. Otherwise, they’d just use an egg donor who doesn’t have any mtDNA issues. Except for gestational surrogates and adoption, the woman that gives birth is generally considered to be a “mother” anyway.

      (it would also be possible for a woman to donate mtDNA to her female partner, and then they’d both raise the child.

      • Oh sht your right good grief. Makes my head spin. But I’ve settled on this thought that however a person winds up with offspring they need to be named as a parent its at minimum a public health concern of fundamental corner-stone like importance. It’s also a legal concern so that people and their body parts are not legally separable in such a way as to create opportunities for theft of people’s eggs and sperm and embryos without much fear of detection (they all look alike and are impossible for people who produce them to keep track of them once they turn over the reigns to another person for storage) Even when the crime or mistake is detected people can’t even find out who has their children. So its tremendously profitable and low risk crime. Requiring that everyone be named parent of their own offspring would mean opportunists in gamete theft would be caught whenever a child was born and tested not to be the offspring of people claiming to be parents. All three if there are three – what can i say. I suppose the bottom line is that if a kid is the offspring of three people that kid has a vital interest in being raised by all three of those people, not just two or one with their assorted partners but all three of them. The reality is the kid could not exist without those 3 people existing so – i think its twisted to experiment on human beings like that. I think there might be some way to prevent people from experimenting on people who are too young to consent and when they are born – i have to think this one through. I know with human rights and equality I have to stay on this side of birth and can’t argue intelligently if we start talking about conception. They were wronged at birth when the absent bio parent abandoned them. The three parent kid would be wronged in that same way. I don’t know what to say about the experimentation. If they are held responsible as parents at least they and only they will have to deal with whatever pain or disfigurement or retardation or problems their kid has because they caused that kid to exist. At least that would be fair. Allowing other people to pretend to be the parent or ignoring one of the three parents will be a disaster

  3. The woman that raises the child would normally contribute the eggs and therefore the chromosomal DNA. Otherwise, they’d just use an egg donor who doesn’t have any mtDNA issues.

  4. There is a paradox here, even some hypocrisy. If insistence on having a genetic tie to the child is chauvinism, and the proper view is that genetics don’t matter, then why do infertile people spend so much effort trying to find an idealized person with just the right traits to provide sperm/eggs/ embryos? After that is achieved, then why is that person no longer important to the person conceived? Early advocates of DI stressed the importance of the high genetic quality of their donors but insisted that the man himself should be considered a non-person.

    • “They had absolutely no problem replacing the bio parent and now they are afraid it will be done to them. ”
      From lost daughters

      • And that quote comes from someone who is completely ignorant and insensitive to infertility and what it is like to not be able to have a child they conceived.

    • “After that is achieved, then why is that person no longer important to the person conceived? ”

      Because the desire to become a normal parent with as few reminders of what isn’t is tough for infertile couples to deal with. I’m not defending their actions because I think they need to recognize that the other biological parent does play an important role in who their child is. I just believe if you are looking to gain a better understanding of the actions these parents take you need to recognize and empathize where they came from and what is driving their behavior.

      • ” I just believe if you are looking to gain a better understanding of the actions these parents take you need to recognize and empathize where they came from and what is driving their behavior.”

        I have understood and empathized with my parent’s decisions to keep me uninformed about my origins. I have been communicating with DI parents for almost 30 years and understand virtually all of the drivers of their behavior. When some ignore “where we come from” and fail to recognize our behaviors, our identity confusion, and our pain, I think that those types of DI parents do not recognize the importance of the other genetic “parent” and I can no longer have empathy for them. Their belief that “Love is enough” is a form of chauvinism, or rather a paternalism that limits a child’s emotional growth by ignoring his or her nature.

        I am not a genetic essentialist but feel that knowing my genetic roots, my five half-siblings, and several other relatives of my late bio-father (as I have now been able to achieve) has been an important part of my development that includes the experiences, the nurturing, the values, and the love I had from my parents who raised me. This should have been available to me when I became an adult and probably earlier when I began to suspect my paternity in my teens, not at age 68.

        I know that my parents had tough time dealing with a child created through an anonymous man whom they chose to ignore, although I was a constant reminder of him. As a result, they couldn’t fully understand that it was also tough for their teenaged son to suspect that my mother must have been unfaithful to my dad. I kept silent about my suspicion just as they did about my conception. Such silence and secrecy is not a part of normal family life.

        • “Their belief that “Love is enough” is a form of chauvinism, or rather a paternalism that limits a child’s emotional growth by ignoring his or her nature.”

          See I think love goes beyond just giving hugs and kisses. Love to means supporting your child no matter what. Love means putting your insecurities aside for your child. Love could be enough but it has to be true love not love on their terms.

          I get where your coming from and it was wrong how you were treated. My point was we need to help these parents to prevent them from making the mistakes that hurt people like yourself who were raised and not told the truth. We need to help them address their hurt and not be shamed for how their children were conceived.

          • That can be done without approving of how they were conceived or trying to make it more acceptable and normal. We should just prohibit sperm and egg donation while also not judging or shaming people that did it while it was legal.

            • My parent's donor is my father

              John wrote:
              “That can be done without approving of how they were conceived or trying to make it more acceptable and normal.”

              I agree with you on this. BUT I don’t agree with you on this:

              “We should just prohibit sperm and egg donation while also not judging or shaming people that did it while it was legal.”

              Reality check, that is not going to happen. So back to your first point…there are ways our culture can do this without passing outright prohibition laws, such as more education and open discussion about ALL the MANY many many etc. problems involved and not attempting to squash the dialogue with PC politics…among other things. Holistic parenting should go hand and hand with the Green Movement. It’s actually both a socially conservative and liberal cause, (bipartisan?) it’s just being twisted as primarily a religious and/or conservative (insert the insulting here) movement. I think It can actually bring people together – if allowed.

              • You are thinking like someone who wants to get things done.

              • “Reality check, that is not going to happen. So back to your first point…there are ways our culture can do this without passing outright prohibition laws, such as more education and open discussion about ALL the MANY many many etc. problems involved and not attempting to squash the dialogue with PC politics…among other things. Holistic parenting should go hand and hand with the Green Movement. It’s actually both a socially conservative and liberal cause, (bipartisan?) it’s just being twisted as primarily a religious and/or conservative (insert the insulting here) movement. I think It can actually bring people together – if allowed.”

                If it comes from people who have children the message is weak. Even if it comes from those who are DC, if they were able to have children the message gets lost on those who are considering using DC to build their family. When it comes from that perspective it lacks empathy and it shames those who desire to have families.

                The strongest message will come from those who are DC who are either gay or unable to have children of their own. Those people truly empathize with adults physically unable to conceive children and know what it’s like to be donor conceived child.

              • I agree it should be a holistic green and a liberal cause, but it’s also a big human rights issue and that’s why we can’t accept it like it’s just a matter of getting people to eat organically and use less carbon. It’s not just personal behavior like smoking or not exercising enough, it is creating new people, it’s human trafficking, importation of persons, and it is harming social patterns and expectations. People said ending slavery and segregation was never going to happen too, it was too wide-spread and accepted, too many fine people owned slaves, but abolitionists knew it had to be stopped as a matter of principle and were stubborn about it.

                • My parent's donor is my father

                  I hope you are right.

                • So we are comparing people being raised by non biological parents to people who were held against their will forced to work for no pay for thrice entire lives? That’s insane and where I can’t take these extremist arguments seriously.

                  No one is going to go along with arguments that compare third party reproduction to slavery.

                  • I’m not talking about “being raised” by anyone, I’m talking about being created intentionally by unmarried progenitors, which is human trafficking and importation of persons and is not a right of any individual. Creating people is a right of marriage only. When it is said to a right of individuals who are not married to each other, it violates the rights of children to be conceived by married parents and makes the other progenitor into just their material body, sold to exist and designed to be the property of people who desire them. That’s human trafficking and commerce in human persons, and should be abolished.

                    Also the idea of legal parenting being a “right” at all is like slave owners mentality. It casts the child as the property of the “legal parent” and Greg says it can’t just be till they are 18 it has to last until Greg and the rest of his family are old and they need people to visit them, not slaves but still purchased and brought into existence to be the property of legal parents, and perhaps the labs that produced the embryo or the law firm that wrote the surrogacy contracts.

                    There is no right to create a person to be the parent of. Even marriages only have a right to sexual intercourse which means sexual reproduction with each other’s genes and to their fertility and health, and privacy, but that privacy doesn’t mean a right to adultery and certainly doesn’t mean a right to purchase sperm or arrange for stronger or smarter man to screw their wives or other women to bear their children (but note that where polygamy is allowed, it does allow a man to have a harem of women having his children). And there is certainly no right to intentionally create people by individuals, without giving and obtaining informed consent to the legal obligations of marriage to the other parent of your children. Doing it without getting the official right isn’t the end of the world, because now the official right doesn’t really promise much and by now we have a huge legal profession and social workers and courts and DNA testing labs and wage garnishing so we can give the baby what baby’s born to married couples get, at least financially, and have more freedom as adults. But we should still remind people it isn’t a right, and violates the rights of the child, etc etc….

                  • My point was that if your goal is to outlaw third party reproduction then I would drop the whole slavery comparison. No one is going to take you seriously if you use it because it sounds insane. Though I disagree with banning it there are strong arguments to ban it that don’t involve comparing it to slavery.

                  • Only if they pay to obtain a child or are given one as a gift then the child is enslaved. Oh or if their identity is altered under any circumstance then they are enslaved

                  • No Marilynn they aren’t enslaved at all. Yes, you can argue issues with it but when you call it being enslaved people won’t take you seriously. Because it insults people who were actually slaves.

                    Let me ask you do you take my arguments about the childless being discriminated against when I describe it as being enslaved by the fertile community? I don’t think you do which is why I’ve learned to utilize a different description for it.

                  • It’s not a metaphor Greg. Human beings are being trafficked, bought and sold and owned by people who think they have a “parenting right” to them but aren’t their actual parents, and they are manipulated into performing a lifelong subservient role at the behest of their owners/providers/overseers. A marriage has a right to have sex and reproduce offspring together, which they then have a responsibility to protect and raise and set free. It’s true that married bio-parents can wrongly think of themselves as having “parenting rights” and bring their bio children into the world in much the same way that non-bio parents using surrogates and purchased gametes do, but that is evidence of the bad effect that allowing intentional unmarried conception has on the rest of society. The callous belief in “parenting rights” spreads and replaces the original belief in having a responsibility to one’s offspring.

                  • If your goal is to ban third party reproduction and restrict parenting to only those people who have a biological connection to that child you are not going to convince the masses with the slavery comparison. The majority of the non religious public will not support a change based on that premiss. A different apos

                  • If your goal is to ban third party reproduction and restrict parenting to only those people who have a biological connection to that child you are not going to convince the masses with the slavery comparison. The majority of the non religious public will not support a change based on that premiss. A different approach is advisable if you are looking to enact change.

                  • I’m trying to ban third party reproduction and human trafficking, but not “restrict parenting to only those people who have a biological connection to that child.” I think it is often best for children to be raised by non-biological parents.

                  • John,

                    You may not be trying to restrict parenting to only those with biological connections to the child but people like Marilynn, My Donor is my Father and others are. Either way I think your side’s best arguments to ban third party reproduction don’t involve calling it slavery, human trafficking and black market adoption. Though I don’t agree with banning it I do think you should be able to convince others especially in the religious communities if you stay away from mentioning those things.

                  • My parent's donor is my father

                    Greg this rediculous!
                    “You may not be trying to restrict parenting to only those with biological connections to the child but people like Marilynn, My Donor is my Father and others are.”

                    No. I have NEVER said that or insinuated that. How on earth did you draw that conclusion? Not that I really desire to engage with you. I’m not a part of a conspiracy political movement to restrict all parenting by non-bio parents. That’s borderline libel. Highly offensive and insulting. Please stop.

                  • Look I never compare “third party reproduction” to slavery. I don’t talk about reproduction or conception. I’m talking about making sure that all people are held to the same legal responsibility to be named parents of their own offspring to prevent people from paying those parents to collude with them in hiding their adoption by allowing the adoptive parents to name themselves on the original birth record. Cause it’s black market adoption. It does not matter if people pay for the child they get. People use to give slaves and indentured servants to other’s as gifts, they willed them to people. It is that property based view of a person by the bio parent and by the people who want to pretend to be bio parents or who want to just not have the other bio parent around – that is what is wrong. That person is not their property to simply give away or sell or abandon. That person is their responsibility they made a human being and that person has a vested interest in being cared for by the individuals who made them and nobody else should be allowed to raise them except in cases of extreme abuse or neglect not commerce, not charity that is objectification.

                    Greg people of color in this country have surnames that came down the line from whoever held title to them. Yes after generations the names belong to them now but the origin of the name leads not back to their own village from their home land but back to a plantation owner named Jackson who held title to their ancestor. OK when people pay for a man’s sperm what they are doing is paying him to abandon his offspring. They are paying to put the name of the mother’s husband on the birth record. That kid is bought and owned and named after his owner.

                  • “Cause it’s black market adoption. ”

                    If you were making an argument to a stranger you would have had thrum taking you seriously up until you made this statement. The rest of the extremist rant would have been ignored. Thank you for making my point.

          • People who are abandoned by their parents experience the wrong of family separation but there are extenuating circumstances that an adopted person will take into consideration when deciding how to feel about having been abandoned. Donor offspring also take into consideration extenuating circumstances that led their absent parent to abandon them. Adoptive parents don’t typically cause the parent to abandon their offspring other than in surrogacy agreements. So the big bad wrong thing adoptive parents can do is lie and pretend the kid is their kid. People who raise donor offspring can do that same big bad thing but they have the problem of being the extenuating circumstance that led their parent to abandon them. Telling is not enough. Not letting their parents abandon them at all is the solution

            • “Adoptive parents don’t typically cause the parent to abandon their offspring other than in surrogacy agreements. So the big bad wrong thing adoptive parents can do is lie and pretend the kid is their kid. ”

              That’s right because it’s not their kid, they are just babysitters, right? The solution is for people like yourself to be silenced so non biological parents aren’t shamed or disrespected. So children being raised by non biological parents are confident in the mom and dad that raise them.

              • Look Greg they are not the mother and father no. That is the bottom line. They can be adoptive mothers and fathers but only the people that create you can be your actual parents. Actual parents fail to take care of their kids all the time. Being a parent does not mean a person is good at raising kids it just means they have the obligation because they created the dependent person.

                • Hate me for saying it vilify me whatever you want but a person can’t buy parenthood.

                • When you call one set of adults parents and another set something else it shows a bias against. When you describe one set of adults as “Actual Parents” as you did above you imply that others aren’t real parents. Again your consistent looking down upon and demonizing of non biological parents shows your obvious bias against them. I haven’t vilified you at all you’ve done that to yourself.

                  Having sex, conceiving a child and carrying a pregnancy to term does not make two people parents. It may make them biological parents but being a parent means taking on and carrying out what it takes to raise a child and be there for them until death do them part.

                  • Greg kinship is a measurement of blood distance. It is as real and tangible as any other method of scientific measurement of distance and it has real world health implications for individuals on the same line. Saying that people are sisters because they are raised like sisters is similar to saying that the world is getting smaller due to technology that makes communication and travel easier than it was 100 years ago. The world is not actually smaller the actual distance between two points is unchanged despite building bridges connecting individuals both literal and figurative. 500 miles is still really 500 miles even if it seems like you are right next door.

                  • “It is as real and tangible as any other method of scientific measurement of distance and it has real world health implications for individuals on the same line. ”

                    But again the biological connection is not being denied. Of course it’s very real just as someone’s parents being very real even though their parents did not conceive them.

                    “Saying that people are sisters because they are raised like sisters is similar to saying that the world is getting smaller due to technology that makes communication and travel easier than it was 100 years ago. ”

                    This is simply not true. I know many adoptees who look at their siblings as brothers and sisters despite the lack of a biological connection. They are their brothers and sisters despite the lack of biological connection. I’d like to see you tell them they are wrong and then see the type of deserved wrath they bring upon you.

                  • “Having sex, conceiving a child and carrying a pregnancy to term does not make two people parents.”
                    You are right none of those tasks makes people parents, having offspring makes them parents.
                    “being a parent means taking on and carrying out what it takes to raise a child and be there for them until death do them part.” Greg those are actions that are required of parents. The obligations don’t precede the title. The title gives rise to the obligation which can be unmet which is why we have the phrase parental neglect or parental abandonment. They are parents who did not meet their obligations. Not meeting the obligations does not mean a person is not a parent if they have offspring. Adoptive parents become adoptive parents without having to do any of those care giving tasks either no different than someone who becomes a parent by virtue of having offspring. The title of parent or adoptive parent is not earned it’s either acknowledged because that is what you are because you have offspring or its granted by a court because you adopted offspring but in neither case to either have to first meet any care giving obligations in order to be worthy of the title of parent or adoptive parent, its something you are and then come the obligations the actions.

                  • “The title of parent or adoptive parent is not earned it’s either acknowledged because that is what you are because you have offspring or its granted by a court because you adopted offspring but in neither case to either have to first meet any care giving obligations in order to be worthy of the title of parent or adoptive parent, its something you are and then come the obligations the actions.”

                    More proof of your anti non biological parent agenda. Parents who’s children are adopted are PARENTS, whether you choose to acknowledge that is irrelevant. Nothing further to discuss here.

                  • Greg adoptive parents don’t have children, they have adopted children. The absence of any modifier is assumed to mean biologically related. You only need to say bio parents if there is also a set of adoptive parents. There is not always, I’m speaking broadly.

                  • “Greg adoptive parents don’t have children, they have adopted children. The absence of any modifier is assumed to mean biologically related. You only need to say bio parents if there is also a set of adoptive parents. There is not always, I’m speaking broadly.”

                    This is biological family elitism.

    • right! It only makes sense to people who want to pretend they and their partner had a child together. They want – they feel they deserve- the whole world to humor them and go along with their big fat lie to honor their undying love to each other. Their relationship is super important. Way more important than the myriad relationships that a person will be cloistered from so that they have no choice but t go along with the charade. I blame the absent parent.

      • There is no pretending as uncomfortable as it makes Bill and yourself feel they are very much parents regardless of whether they conceived the child.

        • Why do they need someone else’s permission then? You keep saying that adoptive parents are second class – they are not second class they have the same level of authority over the adopted child as other people have over their offspring. It has the same legal force once it’s granted. But they are second in line there is just no way around that. They don’t come first…you cannot be an adoptive parent unless a parent first fails to take care of their child. That is why its always sad. A donor with offspring is a parent and he did fail to take care of his kid. That = super sad.

          • Oh, I don’t feel that adoptive parents or non biological parents are second class. But you and others talk down on them and treat them like they are second class. The reality is for me and for the rest of the world is that they are PARENTS. What’s super sad is that there are those such as yourself who are Biological Family Elitists. You feel that biological families are superior and always come before non biological families. It’s Super Sad that closed minded thinking and belief systems exist in the year 2014.

            • There is nothing elitist about identifying individuals that are in a position to exploit the freedom of other human beings.

              Biological parents are automatically in a position that they can exploit and capitalize upon because they have something that other people want – children. It does not matter how they got them whether they planned to make their children just especially for other people to raise or not, point is that they are the only people capable of creating their own offspring and they are in a position to make decisions about what happens to their offspring after they are born. That is a whole lot of power for a person to have and clearly the temptation to treat their own offspring as products produced for financial gain is just way too tempting for some people to handle. Aparently people are willing to abandon their kids if they are paid in advance and they did not have that kid with a person they love or like. If a middle man comes in and sanitizes the whole process they’ll abandon their kids because kids only count if they are created with a person you know. The other kids are throw away, what happens to those kids is of no consequence because they did not intend to raise them, they only had those throw away kids to begin with in order to be charitable or to make a profit and now their kids will spend the rest of their lives forced to accept their falsified identity and falsified records so they can never abandon the position their bio parent sold them into. Those kids can’t just be themselves and get raised. They have a job to do in order to be fed and clothed and that is not right. It is child labor because nobody would feed them if they were documented as the child of their absent bio parent, they only wanted them if they could rename them like cabage patch dolls. They try to get there so early in the process, to collude prior to the child’s birth so the only records of their existence are the falsified ones. With the falsified original record it will be impossible for the purchased child to ever be himself there is no proof of who he really is. It’s totally subversively abusive.

              • I purposely used a willing to be known donor so my daughter could find that out someday. She has the last name of her genetic mother who gave birth to her (me). The “father” space is blank, no false name used. She can fill it in someday if she wants to. She is not a slave or a doll, she is a child being raised by her biological mother. I think there should be a complete biological birth record separate from legal parentage, but that is not how the system is set up right now.

                • The birth certificate acts as proof of when and where a child is born as well as legal parentage. To me you and your daughter have what you need in terms of donor access and documentation.

              • “There is nothing elitist about identifying individuals that are in a position to exploit the freedom of other human beings.”

                What freedom exactly is being exploited? Are these kids chained to the wall and feed only twice a day?

                “They have a job to do in order to be fed and clothed and that is not right. It is child labor because nobody would feed them if they were documented as the child of their absent bio parent, they only wanted them if they could rename them like cabage patch dolls. ”

                LOL, this is just plain insanity. I don’t think any of these DC kids are out in the cotton fields. Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

                • LOL if anyone is a slave where my daughter is concerned it’s me. She gets her every need and want taken care of at every hour of the day, since she is a newborn. Not that I mind haha. But being a sleep deprived new parent it comes across as especially funny/ironic to me.

                  • No your situation is different. Your child is denied their complete identity and many rights but you have not altered their identity by filling in someone else’s name on their obc. They are not pretending to be a totally different person as a service to you and your partner. It’s close to make them pretend to be fatherless but I don’t know if you’d do that – saying they have no father that he’s just a donor or saying they have no right to be a known part of his family. I doubt you would do that. Living with an incomplete identity is not the same as living under a false one having to pretend your someone else’s child.

                  • She’ll know she has a biological father and may have other biological relatives. It’s up to her what significance that has to her personally and whether she wants to meet them.

  5. Did the media say that Dolly the Sheep came from two mothers back when it was cloned? I see that the Wikipedia entry currently says she had three mothers, (egg, DNA, birth) but at the time I don’t think we said Dolly had two mothers or “two parents” we just said she was cloned and it was understood that some other poor sheep was forced to be the mother and some other poor sheep was forced to be the egg donor that had the original Dolly’s DNA. That original sheep really deserves more fame, as she was the first sheep to be successfully cloned, but we only know she was a female and they used her mammary cells).

    The first time we heard about “two mothers” was eight years later in 2004 with the birth of the mouse Kaguya, because in that case it was actually closer to true sexual reproduction, though one of the “mothers” is only an embryonic mother herself. It’s not as though two adults had offspring together even then.

    • Oh so my point was that in my opinion, the egg donor for the mitochondrial DNA is not a mother, just like we didn’t say that the egg donor of Dolly was a mother and she had two or three mothers. We understood she had one mother.

      • Disagree totally.
        People are the parent’s of their own offspring. Animals are the parents of their own offspring. In the most specific factual technical sense your parent is the biological source of your existence, if they did not exist you would not exist. Others can aid, assist or otherwise influence your parents to reproduce and have offspring they can even assist them in having offspring but they cannot actually create offspring for another person. They are factors not causes and therefore are not technically parents – they just want people to think they are because they do things parents are supposed to do like gestate and give birth, or raise a kid

        • “In the most specific factual technical sense your parent is the biological source of your existence, if they did not exist you would not exist. ”

          More proof of your hate for non biological parents.

          • More proof that Greg is only focused on himself and cares nothing about the objectification of helpless minors if it serves to fill the empty cribs of people who really want children so badly that they’d pay a fee to have people abandon offspring so that they can take and raise them and pretend to be parents of the kid they bought.

      • “the egg donor for the mitochondrial DNA is not a mother.”

        John yo have to explain this. What are you thinking makes a woman a mother? Women with offspring are mothers and women without offspring are not mothers. They may look like mothers they may act like mothers they may even legally be assigned the title of mother but her motherhood is dependent upon obtaining a child from another woman she did not have independent authority over the female decision to bring that person into the world. If you need permission from someone else to be a parent then your not a parent, your an adoptive parent or some other modified permission needing, not at the top of the food chain, not the end of the line in authority ie not responsible for the life of anyone else.

        • I think offspring makes one a father or mother, and the DNA tests for paternity and maternity can reliably determine who these people are, and it’s nuclear DNA that matters not mitochondrial DNA.

          That said, I’m fine with referring to step mothers and adoptive mothers and even black market baby-stealing mothers as mothers, in a social sense, even if they aren’t the dna mother. I don’t think it should be done purposefully, and I don’t think the truth should be hidden from the child, but I’m fine with non-dna mothers being legal and social mothers and being called mothers.

    • wait when you are cloned your grandparents are really your parents, the person who was cloned is your twin sibling born earlier than you

      • Exactly. The sheep that was cloned is the first sheep (the one that had nice big mammaries and inspired the clone’s name), and Dolly is a clone, not was cloned. I agree a clone’s parents are the same as the original’s parents, like they had twins.

        My point was that we didn’t count the egg donor as a mother in Dolly’s case, the egg donor was forgotten about, as she only provided the egg structures and mitochondria, which could come from any female sheep.

  6. “The insistence that only those who are genetically related are the real parents of the child, that all other sorts of parents are somehow false or secondary reinforces the assertion that only a genetic child will do and so, access to the technology is indispensable.”

    “Only a genetic child” is all a marriage has a right to produce, and a marriage does have a right to produce a genetic child. It is a fact that the genetic connection exists and can be tested and that children are like their parents and have a right to be raised by their parents. It’s not that I’m trying to slight adoptive parents or don’t think they deserve respect or are not real parents of their children. It’s not just fear of a mean stigma that drives demand for using technology to have genetic offspring, it is acknowledgement of the fact that people have genetic offspring, and wanting them to be healthy. If it was a pill or vitamin that helped avoid giving your children mitochondrial diseases, we’d have a right to take it, right?

    • John it’s not possible for someone to produce a child that is not genetically related to themselves. Infertile people don’t produce children at all zip period end of discussion. Same holds true for a sterile man. It’s still only healthy young people having offspring same as it ever was. Society has just gotten incredibly adept at charades and mind games by doing the things the parents should be doing for their children themselves.

      What we need is a parental accountability campaign or just a personal responsibility campaign in general to remind people of the cold stark facts of the matter. People are choosing to produce offspring that they don’t intend to raise and then following through with their intentions by abandoning their offspring at birth. We need to stop assigning parental authority to people who have no offspring and start holding every person with offspring accountable for them the way the rest of society is responsible for their offspring. Other people are a fine back up in case a parent is not fit or capable of taking care of their young but there are no inquires into the fitness of these individuals and parental authority should certainly not be granted to anyone that special ordered a child’s abandonment. If the parent is deemed unfit for having abandoned their child then the child should go to be raised by relatives first and then if that fails find some other person who had nothing to do with aiding a parent in the crime of abaandonment. Agreeing to abandon prior to birth just makes it a black market adoption

      • I’m confused how that is a response to my comment. Did you think I was saying married couples have a right to use sperm or egg donors? No, I certainly wasn’t. When I said “Only a genetic child is all a marriage has a right to produce” I meant the husband and wife have a right to produce a genetic child together, with each other, consensually, if they can and if they want to. I most certainly was not saying they have a right to produce a child through adultery (ie gamete donation).

      • Oh, and this was a very important phrase in my comment: “and a marriage does have a right to produce a genetic child.” By “genetic child” I meant, of the marriage, not of some other couple. Do we agree marriages should never be prohibited from having sex and producing offspring together, with each other’s genes?

        • Do we agree marriages should never be prohibited from having sex and producing offspring together, with each other’s genes?

    • There is no such thing as a child that is not genetic. That’s way saing people have non genetic kids is ridiculous. They have adopted kids or black market adopted kids step kids

      • I was using “genetic child” in the same way Julie was, as opposed to using donor gametes. The difference though is I mean both parents, and she just means one individual, having a genetic child with some other person that isn’t their spouse. People only have a right to have a “genetic child” with their spouse as the other progenitor.

      • Sorry, in this case, she was talking about using donor eggs for the mitochondria and transferring the wife’s dna. I think that would qualify as having a genetic child of the marriage and be a right of marriage.

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