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What rules! The 3 Parent Technique: Is it Possible for a Child to Have 3 Biological Parents?

If someone would have asked me five or so years ago if it was possible for a child to biologically have more than one mother and one father, I would have said impossible, not godly and is witchcraft. But the more dogmatic rules let me go, the more possible impossibles become in my mind. And the stress of it being wrong in someway reduces by the day.

What if you as a female wanted a child but you carry a gene for a deadly disease that is fatal to the nervous system? And this gene resides in DNA in your mitochondria that provides energy to your cell. And over twenty-five percent of this mitochondria have disease-causing mutation. And this mitochondria is passed down through your genes to any child that you might produce..

What if your religion that you were raised to believe was absolute truth from childhood provided that only a male and a female could conceive a child? And because your faith is so strong, you and your husband proceed with trying to conceive a child naturally in accordance with this faith despite the risk of passing this gene down. And you do conceive two children naturally with your husband, but both babies subsequently dies from this deadly gene that you passed to them. One child lived until age six and the other child lived for 8 months.

You get introduced to a doctor who had been working on ways to avoid the mitochondrial disease using what is called the “three-parent” technique. And now you are faced with a type of cognitive dissonance because your religion says only two parents can naturally conceive a child, but you are now faced with another natural possibility of getting what you want—a child that lives. What happens when your faith for something you want challenges your religion?

This very similar scenario occurred in real life to a mother who carried the genes for Leigh syndrome. Leigh syndrome is a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system and is passed down through the mother’s genes.

Dr. John Zhang of New Hope Fertility Center in New York City had been working on the “three-parent” technique. In theory this three-parent technique can be performed in multiple ways. But the method approved in the United Kingdom where this couple lived is called “pronuclear transfer” which involves fertilizing both the mother’s egg and the other female donor’s egg with the father’s sperm. This technique requires that the nucleus be removed before the fertilized egg starts dividing into early stage embryos. Then, the nucleus of the donor’s fertilized egg is disregarded and replaced by the nucleus from the mother’s fertilized egg.

This “pronuclear transfer” approach required for the destruction of embryos so the parents couldn’t use this approach because it violated their Muslim faith. Therefore, Dr. Zhang presented them with a different three-parent technique called “spindle nuclear transfer.” But this approach was not legal in the United Kingdom, so they had to go to Mexico where “there are no rules.”

In the “spindle nuclear transfer,” Dr. Zhang removed the nucleus from the mother’s egg and inserted it into a donor’s egg that had its own nucleus removed. The egg produced from this technique had nuclear DNA from the mother and mitochondrial DNA from the other female donor‘s egg and then this egg combo was fertilized with the father’s sperm.

Using this spindle nuclear transfer approach, Dr. Zhang produced 5 embryos, of only which one developed normally. This normal male embryo was implanted into the mother and the child was born nine months later. When Dr. Zhang tested the baby, they found that less than 1 percent of his DNA carried the mutation, which they believe is such a low amount that it should not cause the child any problem. Generally it takes around having 18 percent or more of the mitochondrial to be affected before severe nervous system problems arise.

For some of you, you can reconcile this possibility with your belief that it takes a mother and a father to conceive because in this episode it still took at least one mother and one father to conceive. But what if a child could be conceived with two mothers or two fathers and there is no need for the opposite sex. If this was possible, would you be faced with another kind of cognitive dissonance to what is natural and what is not?

Well at Cambridge University in connection with Weizmann Institute of Science, scientists have created a technique to create human egg and sperm cells using skin cells. And the skin cells can come from just females or just males. This technique relies on stem cells that have the potential to become any type of cells, which means these cells can be “programmed” to turn into eggs or sperms despite the cells coming from a female or a male. What if the Earth’s ecoystem is just our petri dish programming us?

When it comes to change, change is definitely possible. And though we intellectually understand that change is possible in everything, we still allow ourselves to be tied to absolutes in our mind. But we are challenging absolutes by the day, so why have them? Life as we grow and evolve tend to shatter those absolutes by the day anyway.

And as we begin to live and become more and more technologically advanced, it could be that we are not just learning new technology that is out there but that we are merely unveiling the technology that already exist within us.

And it maybe our openness to impossibilities being possible that could be the key to unlocking everything we have ever wanted in our lives.

Take five minutes and venture 5 years into the future and create an episode in your mind that is the very opposite or different in some way to your life in some aspect today. For example, if today you have to get up to go to work to put in your 8 hours, five years from now on this same day, you will not have to work because there will be no such thing as jobs. Use all of your five senses to experience this no job life in the future. Stay there and then come back to now. As silly as this exercise may seem, and as impossible as not having a job may be, using your brain in this way may be the key to reducing the stress of your life and to getting what you want today.


La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, speaker, certified brain health specialist, and lead creator of I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. If you want to check out more of my writings that may not be released on this site, go over to my website at



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