Sanctity of life is being violated, because any research or medical proceduredone with the intention to genetically modify human embryos is bound toinvolve the use of human embryos, many of whom would be eventuallydiscarded. Worsened by the fact that this is a very new procedure more likely toinvolve more trial and error. Even if these oocytes (egg cells) may have come from eggs donated bywomen for research, it does not change the fact that they represent potentialhuman lives.oExample: in a 2012 study by researchers from Oregon Health andScience University (OHSU) and Boston University School of Medicine,seven volunteers (aged 21–32 years) underwent ovarian stimulationand a total of 106 mature metaphase II (MII) oocytes were retrieved (amean of 15 oocytes per donor cycle). None of these egg cells wereused to create a viable pregnancy.Even though the purpose of these experiments is good (since families with ahigh risk of having sick children could have healthy ones), the means used toachieve it, which involves the manipulation and even destruction of embryosis not.R3: It is also a process that yields little clinical success. Mitochondrial replacement therapy is too poorly understood in humans,making human embryo experimentation an attempt that is largely ineffective.
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What accounts for this is the fact that the human genome has 6 billion pairs ofDNA and mitochondria have about 16,000, making it very challenging topredict their interactions. oThe Nadiya clinic in Ukraine which performs pronuclear transfer, one ofthe 3-parent techniques, has tried the procedure on 21 women.Fourteen attempts failed. oIn a recent experiment by Doug Turnbull of the Wellcome Trust Centrefor Mitochondrial Disease, 58% of embryos created had traces of faultymitochondrial DNA because residues of fluid from the mother’s eggstick to the nucleus when it is extracted. The team also discovered thatin some of the cells extracted from the three-parent embryos, levels ofdefective mitochondrial DNA increased as the cells multiplied.Seeing as the procedure is still a relatively new one and one that yields littleguaranteed results, the resources (funding, facilities, volunteers’ well-beingetc.) channelled into the endeavour to genetically modify human embryos maynot be worth it. R4: The use of genetic modification is also not medically necessary. Pre-implantation genetic testing can already shed light on whether embryostest positive or negative for genetic mutations. It is possible to test the DNA ofIVF embryos and pick healthy ones, a process that adds about $4,000 to thecost of a fertility procedure. A man with Huntington’s, for instance, could havehis sperm used to fertilize a dozen of his partner’s eggs. Half those embryoswould not have the Huntington’s gene, and those could be used to begin apregnancy.oPre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) can be used to identifyapproximately 2,000 inherited single gene disorders and is 98%accurate in identifying affected and unaffected embryos.
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