Why does it need three parents?

A recent news report revealed the existence of a new type of in-vitro fertilization technique with which it claims to produce the baby with three parents. First of all, it is a wrongly stated terminology .the much talked about technique was discovered when a mother with a rare mitochondrial disease couldn’t conceive. The doctors helped the mother by changing the mitochondria of mother’s ovum with healthy mitochondria from the donor’s ovum. This ovum was now fertilized with a healthy sperm and a healthy baby was born.

What is IVF?

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) ever since its practices started has been under controversies.It is so close to Man playing god according to some, but to me, the evolution of mankind it has been bending the rules of nature, from caves to houses, from hunting to grocery shops, from wearing leaves to silk, from letters to E-mail we have come a long way. Some backfired while others made our lives better.IVF according to me is one such evolutionary practice with various broad prospects still under research. This discovery may be a remarkable achievement but it certainly is not “ a baby with three parents”.

Three parents ??

Mitochondria popularly known as the powerhouse of the cell, have the capacity to generate ATP. But due to the mutation in gene 37, there is dysfunctioning in this cell organelle. Due to this the organs having high energy requirements are unable to function properly. Which further causes imbalance in the human body.  There have been several attempts to repair the damaged mitochondria but they were tragic failures. The only way to cure this disease was during the pre-embryonic stage.

In this case, some of the mitochondria in the mother’s cells have a mutation that causes Leigh syndrome, a fatal neurological disorder. The majority of her mitochondria’s function properly, so she doesn’t have the syndrome. But she can pass the disease on to her children: Two of her children have died of the disease and she has had four miscarriages.

Her son’s birth in April rendered fruits to nearly three decades of efforts to manipulate mitochondrially and produce healthy eggs — firstly to overcome fertility problems and now to avoid passing on the disease to the next generation. Although it takes three people to make these fertilized eggs, some researchers take issue with the moniker “three-parent baby.” Pioneering clinical embryologist Jacques Cohen calls the term erroneous. Mitochondrial DNA doesn’t contribute to a person’s traits, so a mitochondrial donor hardly constitutes a parent.

The cause of crisis?

The United  Kingdom is the first country to legalize this technique for medical practices. However several newspaper articles may mislead this finding to the man playing god but in my opinion, the donor of mitochondria cannot be considered as the parent of the child she s merely a donor. Although the mitochondria have its genetic material which is inheritable, but it is useless since it has no expression in the phenotype. The function of mitochondria is limited to ATP synthesis.

Even after this if you are convinced that the donor should be regarded as a parent,  then every blood, kidney, eye, bone marrow, or any other organ donor has equal claims to parentage. Now how does that sounds? Silly,  right but this misleading is an integrated result of an attempt to gain publicity and lack of knowledge among us.But the key roles were played by news reporters who want to sell this man playing god card so much that they don’t consider the facts and theoretical knowledge about the contend. They are ready to sell anything which earns them profits

Blog by- Ms. Chhavi Bhalothia
Asst. Prof., Department of Science