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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Lord Winston: HFEA "incompetent", "arrogant" and should be scrapped

5 July 2007

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is incompetent and arrogant, and should be scrapped, IVF doctor Lord Robert Winston said yesterday. The call comes after raids on the clinic of Mohamed Taranissi, a fertility doctor who has been accused of offering expensive, unproven treatment. Dr Evan Harris MP also said it was time to abolish the regulator and demanded an inquiry into the actions of Angela McNab, the £110,000-a-year chief executive. Dr Harris said: "We have the Healthcare Commission and General Medical Council with health and safety involvement. There's absolutely no need for the HFEA." Yasmina Wright, an IVF patient, said: "Mr Taranissi treated me like I was his only patient." [The Sun, 5 July]

A local state health authority in England is considering giving morning-after pills and abortion advice to girls as young as 11 at their schools. The authority which covers Derby would allow schools to choose not to have the service. Mr David Nichols, head of the city's Littleover Community School, says he will not permit it, adding: "We don't believe in going behind parents' backs. It breaks down the relationship of trust between school and family." [Evening Telegraph, Derby, 5 July]

Dr Thomas Ward, president of the National Association of Catholic Families in Britain, has been appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said: "Considering its purpose, there could be no better news than the appointment of Dr Tom Ward to the Pontifical Academy for Life which was founded by Pope John Paul II at the suggestion of Professor Jérôme Lejeune, SPUC's late president. There is no-one in the United Kingdom who does more to promote Pope John Paul II's teachings on the family and on the sanctity of human life. Dr Ward is fearless in his pastoral care of families in his role as president of the National Association of Catholic Families. His practical understanding of current attacks in Britain and in Europe on the role of parents, as the primary educators and protectors of their children, will be invaluable in the counsels of the Academy. As a family man and as the leader of a pro-life group, I thank God for his appointment." [CFNews, 5 July]

A trial involving more than 1,000 expectant mothers is looking at the use of nicotine patches during pregnancy. The smoking, nicotine and pregnancy trial will study the effect on the behaviour and growth of unborn children and will look at the safety and cost-effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy. Smoking during pregnancy results in 4,000 foetal deaths a year, including miscarriages, in addition to premature births, cot death and asthma. [Nottingham Evening Post, 4 July]

Women who take alternative medicines during fertility treatment may be harming their chances of becoming pregnant, research suggests. A year-long study of 818 women found those who used herbal medicines, reflexology and acupuncture while having IVF treatment were at least 30% less likely to become pregnant than women who did not. Some herbal treatments are advertised as natural remedies for infertility, while others claim to improve women's chances of getting pregnant by reducing their stress levels. The findings were met with caution from some experts. [Guardian, 5 July]

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