Buzzfeed recently published an article that advocates for three parent embryos. While I respect their right to free speech, I must inform you on their shortcomings. While they are attempting to advocate on behalf of a good cause — helping solve mitochondrial diseases, what they are actually advocating for is blindly picking off which humans are worthy and not worthy of survival. This includes both those born with mitochondrial diseases and the human embryos that are being killed off in the process.
First off, it’s okay that not everyone is perfect and healthy. It’s not always about having the opportunity for perfect health – some are born with birth defects or chronic conditions and the fact is, they will never have the opportunity to be completely healthy by worldly standards. It’s the sucky reality of life.
While I know the article mainly tackled three parent embryos (which Buzzfeed rightly called three-parent-babies), there are other common bio-ethical misconceptions that I’d also like to point out. Three parent embryos, somatic cell nuclear transfer, and embryonic stem cell research tend to all lead to the same thing: the killing of embryos. Before you just skim over this notion, think for a second what you are willing to kill.
Human embryos are human when they start, human during development, and human throughout their existence. After simply a few weeks, a human embryo continues to develop into the person that eventually makes it out of the womb and breathes their first breath. Have you ever held a newborn baby? It wasn’t too many weeks before you held them that they too were an embryo. Which baby are you willing to kill in the name of science?
The only difference between the child you once held and the embryo you are willing to kill is time. They have the same DNA, the same chromosomal make-up as they will always have, starting as an embryo.
When we start putting forth the utopian idea that all diseases, including ones that start at conception, will be cured, we start crossing unethical lines. At first, three parent embryos sound nice and kind, until you realize that these experiments are basically creating and killing children in labs while genetically altering the miracle which God has so intricately made.
Scientists are claiming the ability to cure diseases by creating children with three parents. They are also doing this by using another technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer. While this also sounds warm and fuzzy, technically this is human cloning. This obviously is also extremely unethical.
While scientists in the US are pushing for more leniency with the guidelines of experimentation, places like the UK have much less restrictions placed on the creating and killing of embryos. These experiments are not merely being used to “help” but are also leading towards even more grotesque ones — including combining the the embryos of humans and animals. NIH may even start funding human-animal embryo “research” in the US.
In order to perform any of these experiments, scientists are constantly creating, manipulating and killing embryos. This is all occurring when we already have over half a million frozen embryos throughout the US. Thus, our unethical situation gets even worse. Not only does it give scientists more opportunities to destroy these unborn humans, but we are left to decide what to do with the remaining embryos without causing the creation or death of any more embryos through unethical experiments.
My final thought about embryonic research involves something called embryonic stem cell research. For some reason, despite having exactly zero proof of helping anyone at all, scientists think they should still kill pre-born babies to use their stem cells for people who are suffering from a disease. This idea is not only outrageous because it leads to the deaths of humans, but also because there is non-deadly a counter solution that has proven effective.
Adult stem cell research has proven that adults can donate their stem cells (sometimes even to themselves) in order to help treat their own diseases. This is fascinating because there is no death of anyone involved and there is actually proof that it has worked in countless cases.
Conclusively, it is extremely important to conduct research to find cures. But, we must ensure that finding cures to help one person does not cause for the death of a million others – or even one other human for that matter.
If you are still advocating for this kind of research, ask yourself, what if it was your decision? How would you choose which child deserved to die in order to experiment on another?