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Lesbian motherhood and mitochondrial replacement techniques: Reproductive freedom and genetic kinship

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>22/11/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Medical Ethics
Issue number12
Volume44
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)835-842
Publication statusPublished
Early online date28/02/18
Original languageEnglish

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). First, 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 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.