Thursday 19 July 2018

'I wouldn't inflict this illness on my worst enemy, never mind my child... Now I might not have to'

Ciara O'Connor reflects on the public's response to last week's breakthrough in gene editing

Ciara O’Connor photographed by Tegid Cartwright
Ciara O’Connor photographed by Tegid Cartwright

Ciara O'Connor

A new technique to 'fix' faulty DNA responsible for genetic illness in embryos was unveiled by scientists last week. The news was predictably met with not insignificant suspicion and accusations of Nazi-style eugenics.

Not by me. I read and reread the story - I was jubilant. I have an inherited genetic disorder of the connective tissues which often makes my life a misery.

I recently turned 27. Officially in my late 20s, I'm staring down the barrel of 30 and almost daily warnings on TV and online about my rapidly declining fertility. My friends, typically stunted millennials, are grudgingly beginning to accept that they will have to start thinking about babies not as an abstract concept in the very distant future, but as a potentially more immediate reality. Obviously, it's horrifying.

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