Reproducing without “procreating.” Obviously ,“in vitro” (test-tube). This appears to be the goal to be achieved at all costs by scientists working in this field. A plethora of alternative methods and solutions are being devised, imagined, or experimented, with limitless imagination (except for the technical limits). The latest ruse – published on the acclaimed magazine Nature Communication – was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Bath, UK, who managed to give birth – for the first time ever – to healthy mice (successful in 24% of cases), through a complex system of cellular manipulation that excludes all other forms of fertilization (a sort of male “parthenogenesis”). It was hailed as “Yet another scientific success!”. Indeed, but what kind of “success”? With no doubt it marks further progress in terms of technical capabilities; in all likelihood the experiment will provide further knowledge on the first stages of embryonic development, and maybe, in perspective, it will enable the development of therapies to cure infertility. These are all good and useful things.
But what do the new reproductive procedures have to do with generating a new human being?
“Re-producing” test-tube mice, being overjoyed by the successful attempt obtained through new technical methodologies that are alien to nature is totally different from envisaging human application. In fact, this is the declared goal of the researchers. The upsetting element is not the scientific discovery per se. Nor are we unnerved because our intention is to impose prejudiced limits to research. Far from it. The most disconcerting aspect, raising questions and concerns, consists in the feeling that these researches are characterising by a lack of meaning. Moreover, there is a lack of quest for meaning. How is it possible that none of the involved researchers have reflected – notwithstanding technical feasibility – on the idea of engendering a human being in ways that are so distant from nature, that are totally artificial and so completely distant from the “man-woman” dyad, even at cellular level? Over the past days, among the various comments following the scientific discovery, figured the remark of a scientist who claimed: “another taboo has been torn down”, referring to the elimination of the limit consisting until now by the need – expressed in different ways – for an egg and a sperm enabling fertilization.
Thus – we wonder – is modern science reduced to this? To eliminating taboos? Has it become a sort of self-challenge to see who reaches the furthest limit? Does it all boil down to this? The “why” characterising research is no longer important? Moreover, given the noble, inalienable and often endearing task of expanding personal knowledge, man should never forget that he is the protagonist and the ultimate end. Learning more about what we are and what surrounds us is but a small step towards the truth, it means progressing towards an increased awareness of the preciousness of the human person and of all that exists, it means increasing one’s perception of the global harmony of the universe. All of this is done by the human person thanks to his capabilities and to his gifts. Dear researchers, dear friends, are you really sure about dedicating so much time and energy to inventing new ways to “the test-tube production” of your fellow-human beings, exerting undue pressure on the dynamics of nature without asking yourselves in which ways this will affect their history and their identity? Perhaps it might be worthwhile giving it a second thought.