THE fertility watchdog is to broaden its rules on embryo screening to permit the birth of babies to help save seriously ill siblings.
The move was welcomed by the British Medical Association and parents who want to use IVF and genetic screening to create babies whose tissue could then save the life of a brother or sister.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority will now allow screening for purposes other than weeding out genetic disorders. The decision has angered religious and pro–life groups who argue it will result in hundreds of embryos being created and then destroyed in laboratories throughout Britain. There are also fears of "designer babies".
Parents have been allowed to screen if it is also of benefit to the embryo, but not where the only purpose is to create genetic conditions to help another.
Ethical campaigners said they feared a relaxing of regulations could lead to parents creating so-called Frankenstein children: choosing such as sex and hair colour while rejecting unsuitable embryos. Josephine Quintavalle, founder of the committee on reproductive ethics, said moral principles were at stake.
Mario Conti, archbishop of Glasgow, repeated the Catholic Church’s opposition, arguing that human life was not a commodity. The decision came as the authority met in London to consider the results of its policy review.
This is a truly sad situation where parents are willing to sacrifice other siblings to save one. They would never ask susie to give up her heart to save johnny, but they effectively do the same thing with all of the embryos that are killed in the process.