October 27, 2021

Children With 3 Parents ?!?

Yes, you read it correctly! According to the Daily Telegraph this week some Japanese scientists have successfully fertilised an egg that had two mothers.

They evidently used eggs from young donors to repair eggs from older women in order to give them more chance of fertilisation. So technically the child will have genetic material from three parents.

Putting aside the ethical issues of genetically engineered children, just think of the implications for genealogists and people researching their family history.

The immediate question is how will this be recorded? Not on the birth certificate certainly; firstly there isn’t a column for the information (why would there be?) and secondly because technically only one woman has given birth. Will it even be recorded at all? The process may be considered a medical procedure and as such will be on a patient’s records but the details of the second “mother” may not be recorded.

Is it an issue? Genealogy is the study of what used to be known as “blood line” and proof of lineage by DNA is becoming more and more common. I’m uncertain as to whether this new process will affect a person’s DNA but the Daily Telegraph article certainly suggests that any child born as a result of this process will have the genetic make-up of 3 parents so presumably the origins of their DNA would be similar?

Will it ever happen? Well bizarrely similar processes already have, although the process was immediately made illegal. This article from The New Scientist in 2008 suggests treatment of this type was carried out in the 1990’s and this article from 2004 suggests that a team in China achieved a pregnancy but not a live birth in 2003.

Perhaps in the future family trees will no longer have the beautiful symmetrical form we are used to but need three branches from some family members!

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