When scientists discover a new way to prevent disease or overcome infertility, they usually get applauded. But throw genetic engineering into the mix and it gets dicey fast. Genetic engineering in reproductive medicine is particularly scary because we’re talking about...
NEW YORK — When future historians look back on the 21st century, one of the most iconic photos may be of a smiling, dark-haired man in blue scrubs protectively holding a newborn — the world’s first commercially produced “three-parent” baby.
This is John Zhang, the Chinese-born, British-educated founder and medical director of a Manhattan fertility center that is blowing up the way humans reproduce.
In 2009, Zhang helped a 49-year-old patient become the world’s oldest known woman to carry her own child. In the not-too-distant future, he says, 60-year-old women will be able to do the same.
In 2015, Zhang stunned his scientific peers by transferring a genetically “abnormal” embryo to the womb of a woman who had run out of other options. Abnormal embryos — which appear to have the wrong number of chromosomes — are almost universally considered nonviable and discarded by other fertility doctors. The woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl, prompting clinics around the world to reevaluate their policies.
But it was the three-parent baby that really put Zhang on the map. Working with...