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Genetically Modified Embryos: Cure For Infertility Or Ethically Unacceptable?

Donna Gates considers the new technology that is allowing for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO):

Last month it was revealed that scientists have created the world’s first genetically-engineered human beings. (1) According to reports, after some trial and error in the laboratory, 30 healthy and successfully genetically-engineered (GE) babies have been born in the United States. So far, scientists have run a genetic analysis on two of the infants. Tests have confirmed that these babies have inherited the DNA from three adults — two women and one man. Besides the ethical limits that genetically-engineered babies push, there are at least one or two fatal flaws wrapped up in the development of our first GE babies.

It turns out that the parents of the GE babies were born to women and men who were unable to conceive on their own. Professor Jacques Cohen and his colleagues diagnosed at least two of the mothers as infertile. Professor Cohen attributes their infertility to defects in small cellular structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria are cellular workhorses, and they generate much of the body’s energy. When the mitochondria in our cells begin to wane in numbers or when they begin to malfunction, a spectrum of diseases related to aging and degeneration can result. This includes infertility. (2)(3)

Professor Cohen found that the defective mitochondria were located in the egg cells within the ovaries of both women. To remedy the problem, Professor Cohen harvested healthy eggs from female donors. He then took a fine needle and removed some of the internal material from the healthy egg cell, including the mitochondria. This was injected into the eggs of the women wanting to conceive. Because mitochondria contain genetic information, the babies that were born to these women now each carry the DNA of two women rather than one….

If GMOs Area a Cause for Concern, Should We Ever Genetically Engineer a Human Being? A genetically-modified organism (GMO) is something that was developed in a laboratory setting. When creating a GMO, the genetic material from one species is forced into the DNA of an unrelated plant or animal. If the research behind GM food has taught us anything, it is that a lot of unforeseen problems can emerge once we begin tinkering with genetics.

We are most familiar with GMOs in agriculture. Farmers will use genetically-modified seed so that their crops will be able to tolerate toxic herbicides or to manufacture their own insecticide. In the United States, there is a big push to get GMOs out of the marketplace and out of our diet. This is because it is believed that GM foods contribute to the development of many common health disorders, such as:

– Premature aging (9)
– Reproductive disorders (10)
– Immune imbalance (11)
– Gastrointestinal problems (12)(13)(14)
– Organ damage (15)
– Cancer (16)

What, if any, are the dangers of producing GM babies? While many question the ethical integrity of Professor Cohen’s research, others champion him as a scientist on the cutting edge of reproductive technology. It is still too soon to know if genetically-modified children are simply a little too sci-fi or if potential health hazards really exist. However, if GM food is any indication of the dangers of GM humans, there is reason to worry.

It is important to keep in mind that the success of Professor Cohen’s work has little to do with infertility. Infertility, like many chronic diseases that currently plague the American landscape, is a condition of modern times. (17) Before even touching the genetic material of another organism or human, it may be a good idea to consider our overall health first. When we take small steps to nourish the body, heal the gut, and maintain balance within our inner ecosystem, we safeguard the body’s ability to heal and regenerate. (18) (19)


2 comments for “Genetically Modified Embryos: Cure For Infertility Or Ethically Unacceptable?”

  • Thank you for the article.
    I’ll tell you the content of an article about Infertility to my wife.
    Cheer ….

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