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Defending life
from conception to natural death


News, 2 July 2003

2 July 2003

2 July 2003 Baroness Warnock, the Labour peer who drafted the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act has stated that she has no "moral objection" to the eggs of aborted baby girls being used in fertility treatment. She said, "when it comes to using eggs from aborted foetuses to fertilise and then implant in another woman seeking an egg donor, then I suppose the question is whether that woman, the hopeful mother, would object to the thought that this is where eggs came from. I don't see why she should." However, Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, condemned the possibility. "During the last 18 months scientists working in this field seem to have completely lost their way," he told Independent Catholic News. "This is like going back to the Nazi experiments performed during the Second World War." [Yorkshire Post, 2 July, ICN, 1 July ] Researchers in Sweden have suggested that womb transplants will be possible within three years, The Times of London reports. For best results, the womb will have to be donated by the mother or sister of the recipient to counter rejection problems but the person will then need to conceive through IVF. The procedure was tried in Saudi Arabia in 2000 but the donated womb had to be removed from the 26-year-old recipient after 99 days because she developed blood clots. [The Times, 2 July ] A woman who has given birth to eight surrogate children has announced that she has signed a £15,000 expenses deal to produce her ninth child. Carole Horlock from Hertfordshire, who plans to retire after her tenth child, said: "People call me rent-a-womb, which is unkind. But I do what I do for the love of it. It's not about money, it's about making childless couples happy." However, her father spoke against the procedure, saying: "I find the whole business deeply upsetting. They are all my grandchildren and I shall never know them and they will never know me as their grandfather." SPUC's national director, John Smeaton, commented: "To deliberately disturb the psychology of the child from the outset is seriously wrong. Separating a child from its biological mother is unnatural and will cause that child great suffering and pain." [This is London, 1 July ] A survey carried out by experts from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, have warned that many fertility clinics are failing to protect patients from the risk of HIV. The survey found that only 6% of the clinics who responded had separate storage facilities for sperm from HIV positive patients. Of the 12 clinics offering a technique to remove HIV from the surface of sperm, only two carried out tests afterwards to ensure that HIV was no longer present. Dr Leila Frodsham, who presented the findings at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in Madrid last week, said that HIV is not known to have ever been transmitted through IVF but that many clinics were "failing to meet minimum safety standards." [BBC, 1 July ] Researchers in Denmark suggest that mothers whose first child is a boy are more likely to have miscarriages in the future, The Times reports. A study of 181 women who have had multiple miscarriages revealed that 54.4% of mothers of boys were able to give birth again within two years, compared with 73% whose first child was female. Dr Ole Christiansen of Righospitalet Fertility Clinic in Copenhagen, suggested that it may be possible to use drugs to control the mother's immune response to a male baby and therefore to minimise the risk of miscarriage. [The Times, 2 July ]

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