Out of 10 000, one newborn is paralyzed, observing the shock-still delivery room with glossy eyes. The newborn is not awaiting his distinctive cry, neither is it shocked by the riveting blurred world. As a matter of unfortunate fact, the child has a mitochondrial disease at a severe form. His defected mitochondrial factory disabled his bodily functions.
There is a cure.
And only in the UK.
I wouldn’t want to watch a part of our future generation die because of politicians who deemed a treatment invalid. Would you?
Every other country voided the procedure. At conferences, representatives raised their hands in a wavering “yes” to this hereditary death thus far.
The fact that there is a healthy young woman, Alana Saarinen, is a living proof that this scientific potion works. She is one of the few teenagers that underwent mitochondrial donation.
This cure prevents women with mitochondrial disease from transmitting faulty DNA to their offspring. It has nothing to do with anything in the bedroom. Its procedure starts with the “surrogate” or a female donor who offers her healthy energy-providing cells and an intrauterine environment. The biological mother’s defective mitochondria is removed and the nucleus (cellular center) of her cell is injected into the membrane of the working cell. The egg fertilizes and successfully evolves into a zygote. The result only has 0.01% of the donor’s DNA.
Greasing the gears and removing the rusty ones, this cure would have a life-saving potential similar to antibiotics. So why is it illegal?
The FDA rain-checked the idea and annulled it from our system for the past 20 years. Now, the controversies are dripping back to the headlines. The ethical argument posed by opponents predict that this route will lead to “designer babies”. Will this create superpower infants with a perfect immunity? This cure was made to give those with a potentially lethal defect a second chance. Professor Lisa Jardine, former chair of the HFEA, said this safety issue was a “red herring”. In the long-term, the FDA allowed genetically-modified foods to harm us. Cancerogenous substances are still manufactured and present in our environment. However, the FDA’s indecision is preventing mitochondrial donation from becoming a cure for newborns.
This mitochondrial modification is inherited; therefore, concerns about the genetic content and ownership arises. If a car’s tire is popped and a spare tire was voluntarily brought by another driver, does that driver now have a co-ownership the car? The DNA left in the fetus is minuscular. In all cases, it is donated anonymously.
My past summer camp group studied genetics and touched on this topic. We voted unanimously to allow mitochondrial donation. What if Canada had a HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) to regulate these issues? In the UK, this regulatory agency informatively influences politicians who may not be educated in this particular area of science. Frankly, North America has not yet adopted this body.
Lead the way, UK!
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