Three-parent IVF raises ethical and public health issues.
Firstly, a study published last month in Cell Stem Cellshowed that a small quantity of affected mitochondria (1%) obtained from the cell of the genetic mother, could be transmitted during handling, and thus affect future generations.
Another study, which appeared in Nature, revealed that a mouse with DNA from two different (female) mice developed faster than normal, thus affecting its longevity.
A large number of eggs and embryos are needed to carry out these studies properly. Young women between 21 and 35 years of age were approached and offered £500 in remuneration. The procedure used to harvest the eggs was painful, unpleasant and risky, but no-one enquired about the health of these women.
The Washington Times recently published the following article, “Do women who donate their eggs run a health risk?” but claimed that this question could not be confirmed. However, among the 864 incidents which occurred in clinics between 2010 and 2012, just under half were due to ovarian stimulation treatments. Every year, approximately 60 severe cases and 150 less serious cases are reported to the HFEA, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
An earlier study also showed that, between 1999 and 2003, 49 women were admitted to hospital following stimulation for egg donation. Two of them faced life-threatening complications.
The lack of information is rather alarming and women should bear in mind that no in-depth research has been carried out. The slightest risk of complication should therefore be taken seriously.
As far as these women are concerned, egg donation only poses risks and no medical benefit. Under these conditions, who (in terms of young women) would put their life at risk for £500? Sterile, vulnerable women would as well as women in need, who are attracted by financial “compensation”. Why aren’t they involved in the debate?
CMF Blogs (Philippa Taylor) 13/07/2016