View Full Version : Couple barred from having 'designer' baby

Dec 22nd, 2002, 05:36 AM
Couple barred from having 'designer' baby
A London court rules in favour of pro-life campaigner who wants to see this practice stopped

LONDON -- Britain's High Court has barred a couple from creating a 'designer baby' to try to save the life of their sick child.

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, the court said the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has no legal power to authorise such a treatment, the Guardian reported.


The case was filed by pro-life campaigner Josephine Quintavalle who wanted to stop the 'ethically objectionable' screening of test-tube embryos to provide donor siblings for sick children.

The ruling is a blow to Mr Raj Hashmi and his wife Shahana who were given the go-ahead by the HFEA to use embryo selection to try to have a baby matching their sick child's tissue type.

Three-year-old Zain has a rare genetic blood disorder, and his parents hoped stem cells from a new sibling's umbilical cord would save his life.

Mrs Hashmi, 38, who was due to undergo her third IVF attempt after Christmas, told a newspaper this month: 'These people could destroy not just Zain's right to life but that of hundreds of other children. What gives them the right to interfere in other people's lives?'

But Justice Maurice Kay ruled that the HFEA had no legal power to license embryo selection by 'tissue typing' to help sick brothers or sisters.

He said the legislation had been 'tightly drawn' so that the ground rules 'restrict the potential for misuse of science and technology'.

Under existing laws, technology could be used only to help women with reproductive difficulties to conceive and carry a baby to term.

But the decision that the HFEA has no power to license embryo selection by tissue typing raises questions as to whether the activity is regulated by law at all.

Mr Mohammed Taranissi, whose assisted reproduction and gynaecology centre in London has the highest IVF success rate in the country, has already helped two women who wanted babies to save the lives of sick siblings, in defiance of the HFEA.

The HFEA is likely to appeal against the decision because the case raised important issues.

Mrs Quintavalle, representing the pressure group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said that the ruling was 'a victory for the supremacy of Parliament'.

'We are adamant that it is not for the HFEA, a small unelected quango, to make these decisions,' she said.

'With social sex selection around the corner and innumerable other designer baby possibilities on the horizon, the judgment is particularly timely. These vital issues involve the very essence of what it is to be human,' she added.

The HFEA's spokesman, Ms Ann Furedi, said it was disappointed by the judgment.

Sam L
Dec 22nd, 2002, 06:04 AM
I thought saving the life of a sick child would be pro-life :confused:

Dec 22nd, 2002, 11:40 AM
i didnt read any of the article...but the key ethical question (im assuming) is what constitutes life? is it fair to draw a line?...