Skin cell babies may become dangerous reality
Within the next 10-20 years, a new and controversial fertility technology called in vitro gametogenesis could make it possible to manipulate skin cells into creating a human baby.
Tests involving mice aim to prove the possibility.
Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - However, this groundbreaking research has caused push-back from some critics, like Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who says IVG would turn procreation into a transaction.
"IVG extends the faulty logic of IVF by introducing additional steps to the process of manipulating the origins of the human person, in order to satisfy the desires of customers and consumers," Fr. Pacholczyk told CNA in an email interview.
"The technology also offers the possibility of introducing further fractures into parenthood, distancing children from their parents by multiplying the number of those involved in generating the child, so that 3-parent embryos, or even more parents, may become involved," he continued.
IVG has been successfully tested by Japanese researchers on mice, which produced healthy babies derived from skin cells.
Although similar to in vitro fertilization, IVG eliminates the step of needing pre-existing egg and sperm, and instead creates these gametes.
But many experts in the reproductive field are skeptical of its potential outcomes and ethical compromises.
"It gives me an unsettled feeling because we don't know what this could lead to," Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California, Davis, told the New York Times.
Knoepfler noted that some of the potential repercussions of IVG could turn into "cloning" or "designer babies." Other dangers could include the "Brad Pitt scenario," in which celebrity's skin cells retrieved from random places, like hotel rooms, could be used to create a baby.
Potentially anyone's skin cells could be used to create a baby, even without their knowledge or consent.
In an issue of Science Translational Medicine earlier this year, a trio of academics - a Harvard Law professor, the dean of Harvard Medical School, and a medical science professor at Brown - wrote that IVG "may raise the specter of 'embryo farming' on a scale currently unimagined, which might exacerbate concerns about the devaluation of human life."
They added that "refining the science of IVG to the point of clinical use will involve the generation and likely destruction of large numbers of embryos from stem cell-derived gametes" and the process "may exacerbate concerns regarding human enhancement."
Fr. Pacholczyk also pointed to further concerns, saying IVG disrupts the uniqueness of every individual's sex cells.
"I.V.G raises additional concerns because of the way it manipulates human sex cells. Our sex cells, or gametes, are special cells. They uniquely identify us," Fr. Pacholczyk stated.
"It is most unfortunate that overwhelming parental desires are being permitted to trump and distort the right order of transmitting human life," he continued.
Fr. Pacholczyk said that processes like IVG "enable a consumerist mentality that holds that children are 'projects' to be realized through commercial transactions and laboratory techniques of gamete manipulation."
The Catholic Church teaches that IVF and similar reproductive technologies are morally illicit for several reasons, including their separation of procreation from the conjugal act and the creation of embryos which are discarded.
Pope Francis recently spoke out against the destruction of human embryos, saying that no good result from research can justify the destruction of embryos.
Although IVG has proven successful in mice, there are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out before it is tested on humans, and will entail years more of tedious bioengineering.
However, Fr. Pacholczyk hopes that potential parents will come to realize that children should not products that can be ordered or purchased by consumers, and should rather be seen as a gift.
"Turning commercial laboratories to create children on our behalf is an unethical step in the direction of treating our offspring as objects to be planned and created in the pursuit of parental gratification, rather than gifts received from the Lord."
This article was originally published on CNA May 18, 2017.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JANUARY 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia. That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
A century after pandemic flu killed 100 million people around the world, another flu pandemic has blanketed the United States and is ... continue reading
Within the next 10-20 years, a new and controversial fertility technology called in vitro gametogenesis could make it possible to ... continue reading
An Australian man whose friends call him 'Dr. Death,' has invented a 3D printable suicide machine. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading
What does it feel like to die? This is a question that everyone has, but few people can answer. Now, a growing body of scientific and ... continue reading
In 2013, Beyonce Knowles topped GQ's list of "The 100 Hottest Women of the 21st Century." San Francisco, CA (CNA/EWTN News) - That same ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Science is transforming the pro-life debate for the better HD Video
- The shocking numbers that reveal why poverty is here to stay HD Video
- Pope Francis in Peru invites us to be saints
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, January 23, 2018
- St. Ildephonsus: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, January 23, 2018
- The government shutdown continues, but bombs still drop, surveillance ...
- Income inequality - Here's why world poverty and hunger remain a ...
- Daily Reading for Monday, January 22nd, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, January 21st, 2018 HD
- Jobless claims are down - what does that mean for workers? HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education