The U.S. government is considering allowing the production of "three-parent" embryos. This would involve combining the DNA of two women and one man to create an embryo. The goal is to prevent certain genetic diseases from being passed on to the child.

U.S. Weighs Evidence On Producing ‘Three-Parent’ Embryos

The U.S. is considering whether to allow the production of so-called three-parent embryos, a controversial procedure that would help couples with rare genetic mutations have healthy babies.

The technique, which is already being used in the United Kingdom, involves taking the nucleus from a woman’s egg and transferring it into a donor’s egg that has had its own nucleus removed. The resulting embryo would then have genetic material from three people – the mother, the father and the female donor.

Supporters say the procedure could prevent children from being born with debilitating genetic diseases, but critics worry about the ethical implications of creating what is essentially a designer baby.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing a request from a New York fertility doctor to allow him to begin using the technique in his clinic. If the FDA approves the request, it would be the first time the procedure is used in the United States.

The doctor, John Zhang, has already used the procedure to help a Jordanian couple have a baby boy who is free of a fatal genetic disease that runs in the family. The baby was born last year after Zhang performed the procedure in Mexico, where it is not regulated.

Now, Zhang is asking the FDA for permission to use the technique on U.S. patients. In a petition filed with the agency last month, he argued that the procedure is “safe and effective” and should be allowed to be used “on a case-by-case basis.”

The FDA has not yet made a decision on the petition, but it is currently asking for public input on the issue. A decision is expected later this year.