Scientific advances will soon allow children to have any number of parents, legal experts warn.
The arrival of ‘multiplex parenting’ is a ‘mere matter of time’ as the techniques have been shown to work on mice, according to a study.
In theory, any number of parents from three upwards – of either sex – could contribute DNA to create a baby.
The science behind IVG relies on cells that can be made to develop into sperm or egg cells, known collectively as gametes. It means a woman could produce a sperm cell, or a man could produce an egg cell.
With four parents, sperm and eggs made from stem cells would be taken from each pair of adults. From the resulting two embryos, further cells would be taken to create further sperm and egg cells for a third embryo. This final pairing would have a quarter of DNA from each parent.
IVG would also allow infertile couples and same-sex couples ‘to reproduce in a manner similar to fertile straight couples’. On ‘solo’ babies, the professor said: ‘We might worry that only egoism and selfishness would motivate a single person to reproduce with just his or her gametes’.