Three Person IVF And Disability

(15 Posts)
SameDifference Fri 28-Jun-13 02:32:18

I'm a bloggers network member and have just written a post on three person IVF and disability samedifference1.com/2013/06/28/babies-with-three-parents-is-this-a-green-light-for-the-end-of-disability/

I'm split - it's great that it means people won't suffer but then it's also a bit eugenicsy iyswim

Leithlurker Fri 28-Jun-13 11:04:52

I am also a person with a disability from birth, as it happens a rather rare genetic disorder that probably because of it's rarity would not be screened for in the same way that say downs is.

In the past I have been sceptical about grand claims of "trying to weed out disability", disability per say will always be with us as long as humans engage in war, take charge of any form of motorised transport, engage in unsafe sports or hobbies, and continue to be at the whim of chance and are the subjects of accidents. Disabled people will always be around and as such will always find themselves disadvantaged and marginalised.

The other contradiction is the issue of making the principle of the woman's right to choose the most paramount issue which it always should be.

However I agree entirely with the article that the issue is how the idea of disability being even more distanced from part of normal society is the issue. People with impairments have and still continue to add huge amounts to all levels of our society. Would science be as commonly spoken about with out Stephen Hawkins? Or would the world of music be as good without Evelyn Glennie. The scottish enlightenment in particular had a high number of people with physical and mental health issues. My point is that when women come to make the choice, I think it is going to be on the basis that disability is wrong and can be "fixed"

I do then think that a huge dollop of eugenics is involved here, how long will it be till we start to hear the arguments that it is more cost effective to offer this treatment, than it is to support the individual through out their life. I would like to see all those offered this treatment spend a day in a school or a group home to see how disabled children have a life every bit as valuable and important as others.

BarbarianMum Fri 28-Jun-13 12:06:17

I guess I must be missing something cause that argument makes no sense to me.

Would Stephen Hawkins be a less good scientist without a degenerative disease? If a drug was available to stop or reverse the disease would he be betraying the disabled population as a whole to take it?

I can't see that having faulty mitocondria is in any way beneficial to the individual concerned. I don't see giving an embryo functional mitochondria is in any way different than giving a baby a heart transplant. The person remains the same.

Disabled people may have lives that are every bit as valuable and important as others but with certain conditions they are a hell of a lot more painful and a lot shorter. If you can take that away whilst leaving the person intact then why wouldn't you?

SinisterBuggyMonth Fri 28-Jun-13 15:10:52

Speaking as someone with a genetic disease running through my family I think this is wonderful news. Watching my father disintigrate slowly foryears, knowing there are more years to follow until he dies horribly from an as yet, incurable disease, knowing there is a 50s% chance you will go these same way, is frankly slow torture. Knowing that your DC could be the same too, and up will be unlikely to care for them, is heartbreaking.

I hope this goes ahead. I cannot abide the "designer baby" arguement some "experts" are peddlying, what other news subject do people feel justified to use science fiction as a counter arguement?

kim147 Fri 28-Jun-13 18:15:22

From your blog

"The technique, known as mitochondrial transfer, would allow doctors to prevent major childhood diseases- and genetic physical disabilities such as muscular dystrophy. These are passed on through the genes of a mother"

Mitochondria only have 37 genes. They do not contribute to "major childhood diseases" but to a very few diseases which can be life threatening.

Muscular dystrophy is not a mitochondrial disease so there is no need to mention it.

If you are going to talk about science, at least try to get a basic understanding of the science behind it.

SameDifference Fri 28-Jun-13 20:15:10

The Guardian seems to think muscular dystrophy is a mitochondrial disease... that's where I got the info from.

kim147 Fri 28-Jun-13 20:36:47

It's not mitochondrial - some MD diseases are X-linked so it's more likely a boy will get it.

The thing about mitochindrial diseases is that it will be passed on. The child gets the mitochondria from the mother so any disease will be passed on.

2old2beamum Fri 28-Jun-13 21:18:57

As kim said muscular dystrophy despite being an evil disability is not mitrochondial.
All those against this technique should spend time in a children's hospital and may understand if this could be eradicated it would be wonderful. This is not saying people born with mitrochondial disease their lives are not valued.

Ogg Sat 29-Jun-13 14:19:33

I understand that some disabled people may feel their disability is part of them and makes them who they are etc, but in all honesty as a disabled mother of 2 children with a disability, would I take the disability away from them even if it change 'who' they are - too right ! Some things are disablist - trying to cure disabilities are not. Some people with disabilities seam to 'cherish' their disability and I'm totally at a loss why.

expatinscotland Sat 29-Jun-13 14:22:58

Embryos can be screened already to avoid passing on diseases like Taye-Sachs. I don't see this as much different, tbh.

Mitochondrial DNA is completely separate from the rest of a person's DNA. It doesn't affect what they look like or what their personality is like or any of the things that makes them "them". I think that makes it very different from, say, trying to "cure" Down's Syndrome or other conditions where it's hard to say whether the person without the faulty DNA would really be the same person. It's more like an organ transplant, except that it's an organelle transplant.

I always get irritated by "slippery slope" arguments against one specific thing being licensed/permitted.

This particular method will allow families to decide to have children unaffected by some very unpleasant and life-limiting conditions.

Yes if we continued in this direction unhindered we could possibly get into the area of eugenics and 'designer babies'. But we are not going to, because the next possible treatment that comes along will get just as much serious scrutiny as this one did.

It's like saying we couldn't even talk about the possibility of reducing the legal age to buy alcohol from 18 down to 16, because if we continued in that direction, the next thing you know we'll be allowing 5 year olds to buy White Lightning at the supermarket. No, we wouldn't. One change doesn't mean we have opened the moral floodgates and it's 'anything goes' from now on.

Each possible advance has to be considered and looked at carefully, hence the level of debate and consultation that happens. This particular change is a benefit and should be applauded.

Ogg Sat 29-Jun-13 20:25:05

Also if we as a county try to ignore and just ban everything rather than having reasoned decisions and 'reasonable rules' the we will just push people abroad to countries with no controls and no ethics

NotYoMomma Sat 29-Jun-13 21:45:27

I am going to say while I think it is great in a way I dont understand not just using donor eggs and fiddling with DNA?

a disclaimer:

1) I am adopted (biology isn't all that)

2) I am a cowardly custard so fearful of meddling - hence not a fine scientest like these folk

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