Gene editing- as previously discussed, can revolutionize the medical field and improve human lives on an incredible scale. It can be considered one of the most extraordinary and fundamental discoveries in research. However, it raises numerous complex legal and ethical concerns, making it rarely, if not banned, used. This blog post will delve into this matter’s background, challenges, techniques, and current legality.
Gene editing is the “ability to make highly specific changes to the DNA sequence of a living organism, essentially customizing its genetic makeup.” The primary tool used for this is CRISPR-Cas9: a molecular device derived from naturally occurring DNA sequences in bacteria and archaea. It has allowed researchers to target a specific DNA sequence where they introduce cuts into the genome to remove and insert new DNA sequences. Among other methods, such as TALENs and ZFNs, CRISPR has emerged as the most effective, making it crucial in genetics and medicine.
CRISPR has been used in therapies treating certain human diseases such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, cancers of blood-forming tissues like leukemia and lymphoma, chronic infectious diseases like AIDS, and inherited impairment in vision, to name a few. However, the journey to reach this point hasn’t been easy. Early attempts to use gene editing focused on minimizing the consequences instead of correcting genetic mistakes. Although effective in some cases, it was tricky and limited.
But, just like everything else, there is always a legal and ethical side. The implications for gene editing are extreme, considering these are actual human lives and genetic material at play. The legality of human gene editing varies across countries. China, India, Ireland, and Japan outlawed gene editing while the U.S. hasn’t banned it, a moratorium imposed under the vigilance of the FDA and guidelines from the NIH. In the UK, “the legislation of medical use of mitochondrial replacement is likely to lead to legal permission for the modification of germline nuclear genome that can be adjusted by genome-editing technology.”
Additionally, while some countries explicitly prohibit human germline engineering in reproduction, others allow ut with certain exceptions. The “Declaration of Helinski-Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects” (“Declaration of Helinski” for short) serves as a widely accepted ethical principle for medical research involving human subjects and is referenced in the judgment against Jiankui He.
The first gene-edited human babies were born in China in late 2018, triggering widespread criticism and debate over the experiment. The twin infant girls carried an edited gene that reduced the risk of HIV infection. The researcher- Jiankui He- faced three years of jail due to China’s guidelines and regulations banning gene editing. This event highlighted the need for “urgent improvement of ethics governance at all levels, the enforcement of technical and ethical guidelines, and the establishment of laws relating to such bioethical issues.”
Another well-known case of using human-genome editing is that of Victoria Gray. Victoria Gray has sickle cell disease, an inherited red blood cell disorder in which the cell sickles and becomes hard and sticky, forming the shape of a ‘C’. She had volunteered to participate in the first attempt to use CRISPR to treat her disease. The disease that had plagued her since she was a baby, leaving nightmarish nights and horrible pain in its wake, now existed in memory as something that only once existed as part of her life.
Considering this, wouldn’t it be beneficial to use CRISPR more often to make life easier for individuals? To overcome something that could hinder or even harm us? When we have something that can change people’s lives, why should we ban the use of it?
We must establish ethical guidelines for selecting patients, defining eligible diseases, and implementing restrictions on who can use CRISPR and under which circumstances. Oversight by government organizations or regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, could ensure responsible usage for this activity. By doing this, we can prevent misuse of this for non-medical practices, such as cosmetic alterations.
Human gene-editing is a powerful tool that, while beneficial, serves a number of significant legal and ethical issues. While this technology holds the key to improving the lives of individuals facing life-threatening illnesses and genetci disorders, it requires careful regulation to balance the benefits and harms. If we want to use CRISPR and other similar technologies to advance the human race and improve the lives of those in need, we need to establish appropriate laws and regulations so it doesn’t get out of gads.
With the growing advancement of technology, we are able to solve many problems we originally couldn’t. I’m not talking about things like faster communication or instant food delivery, but something on a more…serious level. Gene editing, in vitro fertilization, infertilization, etc. With breakthroughs like gene editing, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), we have the power to address infertility and genetic diseases. However, as we celebrate these achievements, we must also consider the potential difficulties and legal challenges that come hand in hand. So let’s take a look at what these may be.
Here are the main points we’ll cover in this post:
The Concept of Three-Parent Children
The Complexity of Parental Rights
Roles of Surrogacy in the Process
Health Risk and Protection of Donors
Weighing the Benefits and Risks
The Concept of Three-Parent Children
Let me first explain what IVF (or three-parent child) is. So a three-parent baby is pretty much an offspring from the genetic material of three parents; one male and two females. There is mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) and three-parent, in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is usually done so to prevent the inheritance of mitochondrial disease; a 1 in 400 maternally-inherited mutation that can cause a range of illnesses. There are no cures for this, hence the use of MRT.9
One way to do so is by injecting a small amount of cytoplasm from an egg cell (ovum) of a healthy donor into the mother’s egg, which is then fertilized by the father’s sperm and implanted in the mother’s uterus using IVF. Another way is to remove the nucleus from a donor egg and replace it with the nucleus from the mother’s egg cell. The egg is fertilized with the father’s sperm and then transferred to the mother’s uterus for normal gestation. And there are many other ways this could be performed. But they all generally require one thing, an egg from a healthy donor.10
The Complexity of Parental Rights
Given that, would the donor be a biological parent to the child? Not really. The donor is never the legal parent, meaning they are not responsible for the child and have no parental rights to the child. They waive all rights to any children born due to the egg donation under the terms of an egg donation contract.5 This includes the right to initiate contact with the child in the future. In assisted reproduction (IVF, egg donation, etc.) the woman who gives birth to the child is always the mother, even if the eggs were donated by another woman. Besides having no right to the child, there are other requirements as to who is allowed to donate eggs.4 Candidates can be disqualified for lifestyle habits (such as smoking or a history of drug use), health concerns (genetic disorders, obesity, etc.), usage of certain types of contraception, and basic commitment to scheduling appointments. Egg donors should also be no older than 29, as egg quality and quantity diminishes as women reach their mid to late 30s
The Role of Surrogacy in the Process
But if it was in the case of surrogacy, things would be different.
In surrogacy, another woman is asked to have a baby for them. She is called- in Texas- as the gestational mother. In this, the couple must be married and have to make a written agreement with the woman called a gestational agreement. In this agreement, it explains the legal relationship that each person has with the child. It talks about who will provide healthcare for the mother and baby during the pregnancy, the gestational mother giving up all parental rights to the child, other donors – if involved- also needing to give up all parental agreement, the gestational mother having the right to make all healthcare decisions for herself and the embryo, and the intended parents become the child’s legal parents after being born.
Of course, in this the court is also a part of the agreement. You must ask the Court to approve the agreement before the gestational mother gets pregnant, file a Petition at Court, and have the intended file a birth notice after birth. If the court does not approve of the gestational agreement then the gestational mother is the legal mother. If the gestational mother decides to keep the child, the intended parents have no legal rights to the child, and if they want to become the legal parents they would have to adopt the child.11
Health Risks and Protection of Donors
Besides having no right to the child, there are other requirements as to who is allowed to donate eggs. Candidates can be disqualified for lifestyle habits (such as smoking or a history of drug use), health concerns (genetic disorders, obesity, etc.), usage of certain types of contraception, and basic commitment to scheduling appointments. Egg donors should also be no older than 29, as egg quality and quantity diminishes as women reach their mid to late 30s. Not only that, they are screened and checked for genetic diseases.
Donors can be carriers, meaning they have the recessive allele for the mutation and do not develop or have symptoms of the disease despite testing positive. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are unhealthy, but rather they carry the mutation. It would only affect the child if the father is a carrier of the same disease. Despite this, these donors would be disqualified.
There are many risks, however, with donating eggs. For example, long-term effects include aggressive breast cancer, loss of fertility, and fatal colon cancer. Even without any family history of these illnesses, it is suspected the egg donation is the cause. Infertility rates continue to increase and the desperation for fertility services follows. Young women are lured into donating, often unaware of the health risks when they apply as they are offered monetary compensation during a financially vulnerable moment in their lives. When it is said there is “no known risk” it simply means that there is a complete lack of data than an absence of risk, making it misleading.7 This now leads to another question; is it right for these donations to continue when it can be harmful to the donor? Should we risk providing for someone else’s life when we risk our own? These women have their own futures ahead of them so is it right that they have to suffer when they do something to help others?
The answer is complicated. There’s a 0.000004% risk of dying, 0.1% risk of internal bleeding, 0.5% risk of infection, and a 2-6% chance of developing pain and swelling in the ovaries as a result of the self-injected hormone treatments.3 With this. We still need to research more about whether egg donation is safe for donors long-term. Despite the probability these effects come from egg-donation, there could be a way to prevent them with further research. That could potentially make egg-donation safer and help with the growing infertility rates. But for now, there is- as far as I have read- not many laws or regulations protecting women from things like these.
Weighing the Benefits and Risks
Why not just use adoption instead? Adoption is the other and safer option-in this case- for those with infertility. However, adoption doesn’t give all the benefits donors do. 2
Mainly, the pregnancy experience. Having a donor allows parents to carry and deliver their adopted child themselves as they live through the pregnancy experience. Parents also have legal rights and responsibility for the embryos prior to attempting a pregnancy. Donations also cost less than adoption, and have a short wait to them. However, it is noted that donations will not always result in live birth, while adoption with a reputable agency will bring a baby into the home.
Now in case of a divorce, what happens then? Could the father make a claim that the mother shouldn’t get the baby as she is infertile? Would he use that against her? There should be some law or requirement that prevents either parent from being held unfairly simply for this reason. Something like this shouldn’t be held against you in any way at all.
With the rapidly increasing rate of infertility in today’s world we’re taking advantage of new technology to solve this problem. Using egg donors, IVF, and MRT we have come up with a number of ways to produce a child to infertile couples. But, with the ability to do so, there are going to be legal issues involved. Among this we have parental rights on the child, protection and health risks of donors, surrogacy rights, and more. There are also many restrictions regarding who is a donor or surrogate in order to make sure there is a healthy child produced. Despite the few successful attempts to use three-parent child methods to produce an offspring, the ethical and legal complications for this arise, making us question whether this is appropriate or not. For example, ‘should we be risking the life of a donor simply for the want for a child’, or, ‘is it right for a surrogate to give up a child they raised and worked hard to take care of for 9 months to someone else’. These questions remain in doubt, with very frail answers to them. Only with more research can we actually make a proper law to protect those who need it for becoming a donor or being a part of three-parent children.
a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
There are several types of emotion. Happiness, disgust, anger, disappointment, sadness, etc. When we say someone is being emotional, we often think of the negative sides of it. Crying or sorrowful. We don’t realize that it could also mean being overjoyed or heartwarmed. So many different factors affect how our emotions change. Setting, mood, relationship, situation to name a few. Let’s break it down.
For many students, coming back in-person to school from remote learning can be stressful. Everything changes and we have to remember a lot of our old good habits from before. We have to have a lot more focus now as we were very easily distracted in the previous year. We also need to get back in the habit of managing homework after school as we can no longer easily complete it during other periods. Not to forget, we aren’t used to walking around every period anymore. Instead of disconnecting and clicking on the next meeting, we have to quickly transition from one class to another all over the school. Then we have after school activities which take out time from our afternoons when we get back from school. This leaves kids working from late in the night to early in the morning. This then results in not having enough sleep, and not focusing well during classes. The cycle then continues. This builds up so much stress in students, it’s unbearable, and starts to affect their emotions. It can result in students becoming frustrated in everything, or even having meltdowns.
Even though crying cannot solve anything, it really helps to let everything out. After crying it’s like a huge burden from inside is lifted, and it becomes easier to start working again. That’s what happened to me. Not too long ago I came home and had a meltdown. I realize now that it was over something small and could be easily fixed, but back then, I really just couldn’t do anything about it except let it out. Sometimes, in certain situations, it’s best to let your emotions out instead of letting them stay inside for too long. However, when we do it’s considered childish. At this age, we should have better control on our emotions compared to small kids. We know better than to cry over trivial things and be able to deal with problems in more mature ways. Hence, when someone does cry, they’re seen as weak.
But let me ask this. If someone is overjoyed and lets out tears of happiness, are they considered weak? Tears can be let out as a form of expression. It’s often associated with sorrow and pain, but isn’t it also for happiness or delight?
Then again, there are limits to when you should let your emotions out. Simply because crying isn’t weak doesn’t allow one to be able to cry all the time. If so, then you actually are weak. It’s not right to cry over the smallest, fixable things. Things that easily can be solved should not have tears be shed upon. Not only is it unnecessary, but it’s a waste of time. For example, if you have so much work and little time to do it, instead of crying about it, why not just grit your teeth and get it over with? In the time spent moping around, you could have used it to get started or be half-way into an assignment. Now, you’ll only end up taking more time to complete it.
Being emotional has two meanings. You can be emotional by being overjoyed, or you could be emotional by being upset. It’s not always a bad thing to be emotional, but you shouldn’t necessarily be crying about the things that can be fixed. Control your emotions instead of letting them affect your actions and thoughts.
A symbiosis and parasitism are different. Symbiosis have a host and a partner but a parasitism only has a host. For example, water is good for you and also is healthy, but mosquitos suck your blood to lay eggs.The water is a symbiosis and the mosquito is a parasitism. I didn’t know about symbiosis or parasitism before but good thing I know now because that helped me understand it better. Symbiosis and parasitism have made a diffrence, before I knew about them I thought they had a host and partner to help but I was wrong. I hope I learn more about symbiosis and parasite when I grow up.
Seals are animals that live in cold water. Their homes are in the north pole. Seals love to swim. Seals use their filipers to move. The seals favorite food are fish. Seals also have fins and they have them on the back after the part where the stomach comes in. Seals have sharp black claws and a nose that is black, they use their claws to dig in the sand down below and use the nose to sniff the fish out of the ground if it is burried in the ground. Seals have wiskers and eyes too. They use their eyes to see in the cold water and wiskers to feel the fish under them.