Yesterday I noted that one of my two topics was an exploration of the incompatible (?) views of the importance of genetic connection in relation to parentage apparently held by those who support ART. You can, of course, read yesterday’s post. (And probably you should read it.) But the idea is that people who support use of and access to ART sometimes argue that genetics is all important (and therefore ART is crucial) and sometimes argue that genetics is unimportant (and hence sale and other transfer of eggs and sperm is just fine).
Here’s an example of the former. This morning the British Parliament approved the use of IVF employing genetic material from three people. Apparently Britain is the first country in the world to do so.
The idea here is that you might have a woman who carries some genetically heritable disease in her mitochondrial DNA. If she is to reproduce using her own genetic material there are only two options. One is to pass the defect to her child. The other is to use mitochondrial DNA from another woman who does not have the same genetic defects. (You can read about the process in more detail in earlier posts–search for mitochondrial DNA.)
I won’t take the time just now to discuss the risks and objections to the procedure. That’s not my current point. My point is merely this: approval of this must be grounded on the belief (stated or otherwise) that it is very important that a woman be able to have a child who is genetically related to her (in the main, anyway). So important that whatever the objections are, they do not outweigh her interests.
This is one instance where the “genetics is critical” argument is used and is used to great effect. (The vote wasn’t that close.) But many of the same people who make and use this argument have no trouble with the transfer of genetic material (eggs and sperm). That’s what I intend to explore so I thought I’d just toss this out to get underway.