Does egg donation for mitochondrial replacement techniques generate parental responsibilities?

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Abstract

Children created through mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) are commonly presented as possessing 50% of their mother’s nuclear DNA, 50% of their father’s nuclear DNA and the mitochondrial DNA of an egg donor. This lab-engineered genetic composition has prompted two questions: Do children who are the product of an MRT procedure have three genetic parents? And, do MRT egg donors have parental responsibilities for the children created? In this paper, I address the second question and in doing so I also address the first one. First, I present a brief account of mitochondrial diseases and MRTs. Second, I examine how MRTs affect the numerical identity of eggs and zygotes. Third, I investigate two genetic accounts of parenthood and MRT egg donation. Fourth, I explore three causal accounts of parenthood and MRT egg donation. My conclusion is that, under the appropriate circumstances, MRT egg donors are parentally responsible for the children created under genetic accounts of parenthood and under causal accounts of parenthood.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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