MONTREAL - In what is considered a world first, Melanie Boivin has donated her eggs to her daughter who is sterile because of a genetic condition called Turner's syndrome.
The Montreal lawyer's eggs are to be frozen until her seven-year-old daughter, Flavie, becomes of age to bear a child through in-vitro fertilization.
If Flavie has a daughter from one of these eggs the baby will have a grandmother who is also her mother. This opens up all sorts of possibilities. Suppose a woman gave birth to a daughter from eggs donated from her great grandmother. The daughter would also be her mom's great aunt.
Kutluk Oktay, a renowned expert in preserving fertility at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at Cornell University in New York, said egg-freezing technology has "changed drastically in the last couple of years and is now being seen as the next breakthrough in reproductive medicine."
"The procedure will be seen as an established part of fertility care . . . within the next five years," he predicted.
Although questions remain around which method of freezing eggs is best, Dr. Oktay said McGill's fast-freezing technique -- known as vitrification -- "looks extremely promising."
Egg-freezing will become even more popular for women who want to assure that they still have viable eggs when they are able to afford the time to raise children. A woman pursuing a career and unable to find Mr. Right could put off children until her 40s by using frozen eggs she put away while still in her 20s.
I consider this all pretty small stuff compared to embryo genetic engineering. Imagine a woman deciding to build an embryo using chromosomes taken from 5 different men. Each man might carry some chromosome that has a genetic trait she wants. Or she might solicit all her girlfriends to chip in a chromosome or two. Get blue eyes and pretty face from Kathy, resistance to depression and stress from the indomitable Sally, and a sharp mind from Sue.
The ability to select individual chromosomes and assemble them together into an egg, sperm, or embryo will break the link between parenthood and parental genetic endowment. Add in the ability to modify genetic sequences and the rate of human evolution will skyrocket. Your guess is as good as mind on the question of where this will all lead.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2007 April 21 02:08 PM Bioethics Reproduction|