Friday, 20 September 2013

Trivial problems with having 3 parents

One group of scientists have raised concerns that the three-parent IVF technique may lead to problems with fertility, learning and behaviour, the BBC reports. Other scientists say that the effects of a mismatch between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA must be trvial because otherwise we'd have noticed already. Aside from the fact that biologically we have two parents, and therefore I can't see why we would already have noticed, and the ethical minefiel (OK, so it's not a minefield because there isn't a way through, it's just a bomb shaped like a field) the political problems of having 3 parents should not be ignored.
My parents are divorced, my father is remarried. A lot of people are in this position. I get on fairly well with my dad's wife these days, but I rarely refer to her even as my stepmother, although she has referred to herself as a parent in relation to me. My poor sister-in-law has two women who consider themselves to be her mother-in-law (fortunately she is a keen cook and my brother is keen on eating so there is no danger of accusations of underfeeding). Between 6 step-siblings, we only have 4 names, which is a bit confusing at times. Birthdays, Christmas, funerals and now weddings require hours of discussion and planning dedicated to the 3 parent issue. These problems are time consuming, upsetting, complicated but esentially trivial: they do not touch on our identity. At least we are clear on who exactly our parents are, who we are and where we come from. To those who still struggle with these questions, and to those who are and will in the future be born as a result of 3 parent IVF and other bizarre human interventions, I offer the answer a friend of mine discovered as a teenager (very complicated remarriage situation): first and foremost, we are God's children.

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