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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jackie Leach Scully
This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.
For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
The developing mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRTs) are intendedto avoid the transmission of mitochondrial diseases from mother to child. MRTsrepresent a new biomedical technology with ethical, policy, economic and socialimplications. The ethical debate has raised questions about the potential effects onthe identity of the potential children born from MRT, their families, and theproviders or donors of mitochondria. It has been suggested that MRT can influenceidentity directly, through altering the genetic makeup and physical characteristics ofthe child, or indirectly through changing the child’s experience of disease, and bygenerating novel intrafamilial relationships that shape the sense of self. In this paperI consider the plausibility and ethical implications of these proposed identity effects,and focus on the potential mediating influence of the wider social world on MRT’seffects on identity. By taking a narrative approach, and examining the character andavailability of identity narratives, I conclude that while direct genetic and indirectexperiential effects cannot be excluded, social responses are more likely to be both asignificant and a potentially damaging influence on the narrative construction ofMRT children’s identities. This conclusion carries some implications for the collectivemoral responsibility to ensure MRT is implemented in ethically justifiable ways.
Author(s): Scully JL
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/01/2017
Online publication date: 14/12/2016
Acceptance date: 12/09/2016
Date deposited: 04/01/2017
ISSN (print): 0269-9702
ISSN (electronic): 1467-8519
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