Early pronuclear transfer given the green light

This is one of those new stories which links to numerous school subjects, and reiterates the importance of concentrating and trying your best in everything you study and learn about.

image embryo

In GCSE Religious Studies we investigate medical ethics in our Unit 8 course and specifically about transplant surgery and fertility treatment. It is the latter which links to ‘early pronuclear transfer’. It might be our science knowledge that is going to assist us in understanding this one!

Early pronuclear transfer involves removing the parents’ key genetic material from an embryo within hours of fertilisation, leaving behind the woman’s faulty mitochondria.
The parental DNA, which contains all the key genes responsible for character and appearance, is then transferred into a donor woman’s embryo, which has its nucleus removed but contains healthy mitochondria.

three parents image

The BBC reports on this developing IVF technique which will help women who don’t want to pass on a genetic disorder to a healthy baby. It made the headlines because there will be 3 people providing DNA for the embryo and baby. What do you think religions will make of all this?


Will a Scientist be given the go ahead to genetically modify human embryos?

A scientist is trying to discover how and why a fertilised egg can transform into a fully fledged human being – and is looking for permission from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to do so. Dr Niakan wants us to have a better understanding of those early stages of human life and to discover a way to reduce miscarriages.

The BBC reports how science wants to learn more about how 100 fertilised eggs can often end up with less than 13 developed embryos. Not only does this debate include discussions of whether embryos should be used, genetic engineering, sanctity of life but it also effects the use of IVF too, something infertile couples can turn to if they are struggling to conceive naturally.


Stewardship or Dominion over the earth’s creatures?

Stewardship in Christianity follows from the belief that human beings are created by the same God who created the entire universe and everything in it. To look after the Earth, and thus God’s dominion, is the responsibility of the Christian steward.

Dominion is the idea that God gave the earth to humans to use at their will. This idea comes from the Bible: Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ Genesis 1:26-27

The debate over whether it’s stewardship or dominion over the earth can be brought to play in some news about IVF being used on dogs. A litter of seven puppies are the first to be successfully created through IVF treatment. Scientists are excited about what this will mean for procedures that may save endangered species and possibly eradicate genetic disorders in animal species too.


Elton John calls for Dolce and Gabbana Boycott

Elton John has asked people to boycott the Dolce and Gabbana fashion brand for comments the duo have made about IVF treatment creating ‘synthetic’ children. Elton John is a father of two children.


On BBC’s Newbeat Elton John is reported to let rip:

“How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’,” Sir Elton wrote on Instagram.

“And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.

“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions.
“I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”

Other news websites report the story such as the Daily Mail which say that Dolce explains that creating children ‘must be an act of love’, adding: ‘You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog.’ Dolce and Gabbana are pictured below:


What do you think? Do children have to have a mother and father? Do children have to be made through sexual intercourse or can medical advancements like IVF allow people to have children?