Although mitochondrial replacement has curative medical benefits, we should also consider the unfavorable consequences that might result from this proposition. The manipulation of biological makeup has some potentially irreversible consequences that may lead to an Orwellian future. The term “Orwellian” refers to a societal condition that is destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It is derived from the novel 1989 by George Orwell, about a totalitarian society in which citizens have little choice or control over the paths of their own lives.
Is mitochondrial replacement “Orwellian” in that it invades the privacy of future germ lines and restricts their personal choice by determining their biological makeup without their consent? And what of the “third parent” who donates their mitochondrial DNA – are they to be involved in the embryo’s future life, and what rights does the future child have in their relationship with the “third parent?”