Question Catherine Law
Legal status of children conceived artificially using three donors?
What is the legal status of children conceived artificially using three donors?
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Answer Expert #27065
In Mexico, the first baby conceived using a technique known mitochondrial donation has been recently born. This technique aims to allow conception of children where the parents have defective mitochondria, which can cause the child to be born seriously ill. The technique is done by removing the nucleus from an egg which has healthy mitochondria and replacing it with the nucleus from the defective egg or foetus. The resulting child will have a negligible amount of the mitochondria-donor’s DNA. This raises questions of who the mother of the resulting child will be in such a scenario; the mitochondria donor, or the nucleus donor? This technique has been legal in the UK since the 2015 amendment of the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act 2008. The Act treats the woman who carries or has carried the child in her womb as the mother of the child, rather than any other women. As such, given that the woman who is responsible for the greater portion of the child’s DNA will typically be the woman who carries the embryo which is created by the technique, there is no risk of the mitochondria-donor claiming any parental rights to the child.
ReferencesTable of Legislation
Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act 2008
Scutti S, ‘It’s a (controversial 3-parent baby) boy!’, (CNN, 28 September 2016)