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Defending life
from conception to natural death


weekly update, 27 to 31 July

31 July 2006

weekly update, 27 to 31 July Women in Britain are to be offered half-price IVF treatment in exchange for donating some of their eggs for embryonic stem cell research. Researchers in Durham and Newcastle have been given permission by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to go ahead with the scheme, which will take a year to set up. The eggs will be used to create cloned embryos from which stem cells will be extracted, thereby killing them. Paul Danon of SPUC described the scheme as "the commercialisation of human life for research." He said: "Here we have money changing hands in a matter of human reproduction. This must surely degrade the young lives that will be created." [The Scotsman, 28 July ] Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser said Britain is in an "enormously strong" position to become the world leader in stem cell research, adding that there were economic and health benefits to making the UK the "global hub" of such research. He said that British scientists wanted to capitalise on a "series of successes" in stem cell research. [The Scotsman 30 July ] A British man has described how he helped his wife to kill herself at a Swiss clinic. Derek Buckley, 72, took his wife Alayne, 61, who suffered from motor neurone disease, to the Dignitas clinic in Zurich where she was injected with a lethal dose of barbiturates. Mr Buckley, who is now a campaigner for assisted suicide in Britain, said, "I have no doubt euthanasia is being practised in this country and if it were made legal it would be more controlled." Police have decided not to investigate Mrs Buckley's death. [Daily Mail, 27 July ] Dr Mohamed Taranissi, the fertility doctor with the best IVF success rates in Britain, is described as "the wealthiest doctor in Britain" by The Times. , His clinic has an annual profit of £3 million. He can now see "no point" in the existence of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and says that its policies often make little sense to him. He refers to ongoing battles with the Authority, particularly over "egg sharing," in which women donating some of their eggs for research can save thousands of pounds in IVF treatment costs. He says he feels victimised by the Authority. He denies that he supports "designer babies" saying that he is opposed to embryonic sex selection and thinks parents have a "right" to screen embryos "only for serious diseases." [The Times 31 July ] A report by the National Health Service Quality Improvement Scotland notes that at least five Scottish health boards are failing to perform abortions within the recommended waiting time limit of three weeks from referral. The longest wait was more than five weeks. Mr John Sweeny, SPUC Scotland education officer said "Such decisions have often been made in haste. For counselling and information to be comprehensive a woman needs time to think about the life-changing decision she may be making." [Scotland on Sunday 30 July ]

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