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‘No’ to lesbian motherhood using human nuclear genome transfer
  1. Françoise Baylis
  1. Novel Tech Ethics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Françoise Baylis, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada; Francoise.baylis{at}


Giulia Cavaliere and César Palacios-González argue that lesbian couples should have access to human nuclear genome transfer (so-called mitochondrial replacement) so that both members of the couple can have a genetic link to the child they intend to parent. Their argument is grounded in an appeal to reproductive freedom. In this Response, I address a number of concerns with their argument. These concerns relate to nomenclature, treating like cases alike, genetic-relatedness and the limits of reproductive rights. On this last point, I insist that we should not mistake ‘wants’ for ‘needs’ or ‘rights’. I maintain that there is no right to biological parenthood, there is no compelling need for human nuclear genome transfer to satisfy a so-called need for genetically-related children, and we ought not to pander to an acquired desire (ie, want) for genetic filiation.

  • ethics
  • reproductive medicine
  • genetic engineering

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  • Contributors I am the sole author.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. The author has a salary award from the Canada Research Chairs program.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The names, Giulia Cavaliere and César Palacios-González were corrected throughout the article.

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