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New IVF genetic screening proposed

24 October 2008

Proponents of a new technique for testing IVF embryos claim it screens for many more of the 15,000 genetic conditions than current methods, and takes less time. The Bridge Centre, London, England, will use karyomapping on cells removed from two-day-old embryos. The process would cost patients £1,500 (under $2,500) and could be available next year, though it still needs a licence from the regulator. [Times, 24 October]

A type of ethical fertility treatment is at least as successful as artificial reproduction, according to results of a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Research by the International Institute of Restorative Reproductive Medicine on nearly 1,100 couples in Ireland found that NaProTechnology produced live births in more than half of cases. More than three-fifths of patients who had not tried IVF gave birth. Most patients have a hormone abnormality and many have cervical mucus dysfunction. Physicians are reportedly not told about the technique during their training and can regard it as eccentric. Our source describes IVF as expensive. [LifeSiteNews, 23 October]

A campaigning group has asked revenue authorities to review the tax-exempt status of an American Catholic diocese after the bishop wrote an anti-abortion column in his diocesan newspaper. Americans United for Separation of Church and State claim that Rt Rev Arthur Seratelli, Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey, wanted to influence voters. The bishop said the "Democrat candidate" for US president supported the Freedom of Choice Act and that the election was crucial for abortion. [New Jersey News, 24 October] Another bishop has objected to an invitation to a supporter of Senator Barack Obama, Democrat candidate, to speak at a Catholic university in his diocese. Rt Rev Lawrence Brandt, Bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is quoted as saying that Professor Douglas Kmiec distorts Catholic teaching. Dr Kmiec, who was asked to address Seton Hill University in the city, is reported as claiming that Catholics can vote for Mr Obama despite the latter's support for abortion. [Catholic News Agency, 23 October]

Catholic schools in England will have to teach all of the government's new sex-education curriculum. Intercourse will be described from age seven and contraception from 11. [Guardian, 24 October] The Methodist church welcomed the plan. [Ekklesia, 24 October] The Family Education Trust said compulsion would undermine parents. The so-called safe sex message exposed young people to the risks of heartache, and of both physical and mental illness. [Independent, 24 October] Teachers' unions complained of excessive pressure on their profession. [Independent, 23 October]

Women in east London, England, who develop diabetes in pregnancy are being supported by a special scheme. All expectant mothers are tested for glucose tolerance and there is a clinic for high-risk cases. The project has been nominated for a Nursing Times award. [East London Advertiser, 24 October]

Scientists at Harvard, Massachusetts, and in Denmark say that pesticides used throughout the European Union could damage the brains of unborn children and infants. They urge the EU to tighten regulations. [Irish Times, 24 October]

Dr Mohamed Taranissi, the London fertility specialist, has been cleared of mistreating IVF patients after contradictory evidence was presented to a General Medical Council disciplinary hearing. [Mail, 24 October]

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