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Lesbian Motherhood and Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: Reproductive Freedom and Genetic Kinship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Early online date28 Feb 2018
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2018

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Abstract

In this paper, we argue that lesbian couples who wish to have children who are genetically related to both of them should be allowed access to mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs). Firstly, we provide a brief explanation of mitochondrial diseases and MRTs. We then present the reasons why MRTs are not, by nature, therapeutic. The upshot of the view that MRTs are non-therapeutic techniques is that their therapeutic potential cannot be invoked for restricting their use only to those cases where a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) disease could be ‘cured’. We then argue that a positive case for MRTs is justified by an appeal to reproductive freedom, and that the criteria to access these techniques should hence be extended to include lesbian couples who wish to share genetic parenthood. Finally, we consider a potential objection to our argument: that the desire to have genetically related kin is not a morally sufficient reason to allow lesbian couples to access MRTs.

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