A 32-year-old Greek woman is reportedly pregnant from an experimental reproductive technique that uses DNA from three people, the result of the first known clinical trial to use the controversial procedure to treat infertility.
Jeffrey Kahn, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics, who chaired a 2016 U.S. National Academy of Sciences panel that examined the science and ethical issues raised by the three-parent procedure, is available to discuss the implications of this new pregnancy and the procedure, known as mitochondrial replacement therapy, which is banned in the United States.
“The recent announcement of the third baby born as a result of mitochondria replacement points to the urgent need for international governance of controversial reproductive technologies,” says Kahn. “There is a clear pattern emerging of a small group of physicians and scientists willing to perform untested techniques whose safety and consequences for resulting children are unknown, making them ethically dubious at best and irresponsible and unsafe at worst.”
Kahn is the Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy. He works in a variety of areas of bioethics, exploring the intersection of ethics and health/science policy, including human and animal research ethics, public health, and ethical issues in emerging biomedical technologies.