Discussion of the Theological and Ethical Issues Relating to Pronuclear Transfer and Maternal Spindle Transfer

These procedures are in the June 2012 Nuffield Council on Bioethics entitled Novel Techniques for the Prevention of Mitochondrial DNA Disorders: An Ethical Review (Pages 32-36) (http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/mitochondrial-dna-disorders).  The new procedure consists in removing the nucleus (containing the nuclear DNA) from the egg affected by dysfunctional mitochondria, and then transferring this material into a second donated egg, with healthy mitochondria, which had been emptied of its own nuclear material. A lot of hope has been expressed that the research could eventually be useful in preventing inherited mitochondrial diseases being passed on to future generations. Indeed, about one in 6,500 children are born each year who, because of dysfunctional mitochondria, will be affected by a serious disease, such as blindness, diabetes or fatal heart failure.

This presentation was a session at the Center's 2012 Academy of Fellows Consultation on "The Ethics and Theology of Synthetic Gametes" held on November 3, 2012. For more information on the consultation visit here.