Case study - 'three parent IVF'

Scientists have developed a technique called 'three parent IVF' to correct mitochondrial diseases, preventing possible death after birth. It uses genetic material from a donor to correct certain conditions found in embryos. The UK government has recently given its backing to the treatment which could see it legalised within the next two years.

People who would benefit from the treatment say that it would end the heartbreak caused by their children dying shortly after birth. They argue that we are a mixture of many different sets of DNA anyway and that any potential risks of the treatment are outweighed by the risks of having a child with a mitochondrial disease. They welcome the opportunity to have a child who is genetically their own.

People who oppose the treatment may say that it involves the DNA of the child being permanently altered. This means that doctors are changing the nature of the child and its potential descendants. The worry is that this will open the door to more controversial scientific practice, and uncertain outcomes in the future.

For reflection and discussion

  • To what extent may some Muslims believe that three parent IVF is interfering with Allah's plan?
  • Treatments like this are not mentioned in the Qur'an. How might a Muslim decide to respond to the public consultation?
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