Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Value of 'Genetic Affinity'

A couple in Singapore sued when the fertility clinic they used accidentally used the wrong sperm for their in vitro fertilization procedure, Gizmodo reports. It adds that the courts there not only found that medical malpractice occurred, but that the clinic must pay child support costs because of the "loss of 'genetic affinity.'"

Gizmodo notes that the case sets an interesting precedent as it places a monetary value — the clinic has to pay 30 percent of upkeep costs — on the amount of DNA a child shares with the parents.

"It's suggesting that the child itself has something wrong with it, genetically, and that it has monetary value attached to it," Todd Kuiken from North Carolina State University tells Gizmodo says. "They attached damages to the genetic makeup of the child, rather than the mistake. That's the part that makes it uncomfortable."

Kuiken along with Eleonore Pauwels from the Wilson Center add that this loss of genetic affinity ruling could lead to other scenarios such as ones in which child support in a divorce is determined based on degree of relatedness or, further in the future, parents suing after gene editing leads children to have the wrong color eyes.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.