Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Who's your momma?

People with two genetic mothers are about to be born:
MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man.
In a free vote in the Commons, 382 were in favour and 128 against the technique that prevents deadly genetic diseases being passed from mother to child.
During the debate, ministers said the technique was "light at the end of a dark tunnel" for families.
The UK is now set to become the first country to introduce laws to allow the creation of babies from three people.
A further vote is required in the House of Lords. It everything goes ahead then the first such baby could be born next year.
For a long time now, we've seen babies with two biological mothers---the woman who provides the ovum and the woman who gestates the ensuing fetus. With nuclear transfer techniques used to avoid mitochondrial disease, we see the further deconstruction of biological motherhood. Now, if such an ovum with two female sources was implanted in a third woman, the gestator, the ensuing offspring would have three mothers---four, if this whole production process led to a baby being adopted by yet a fourth woman.

When I wrote about this a million years ago, I argued that the gestator  has primary moral claim to the offspring, appealing to a (literal) labor theory of maternity. As usually happens, my arguments failed to shape events, and currently we see the biological mothers who give birth to babies having the least legal and social recognition of their maternity.

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