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Defending life from the moment of conception

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New IVF screening technique is offensive to all disabled people

23 October 2000

New IVF screening technique "is offensive to all disabled people" Westminster, 23 October 2000--The handicap division of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has highlighted the fundamental fallacy of claims that a new screening technique will improve survival chances for babies conceived using in vitro fertilisation. On the contrary, the technique means that even more babies will face fatal discrimination on the basis of their genes. Alison Davis, national co-ordinator of SPUC's handicap division, who herself has spina bifida and is a full-time wheelchair user, said: "The news of yet another way of detecting and eliminating individuals with disabilities before birth is offensive to all disabled people." She explained: "Scientists at University College, London, have developed a new method of testing human embryos by examining every chromosome for disabling conditions. What they do not say, but which is nevertheless a fact, is that they will throw away the disabled embryos and implant in a woman's womb only those who 'pass' the test. "The scientists say that the new test 'makes IVF safer' because it would allow doctors to transfer fewer embryos into the mother's womb. This, they say, would reduce the chance of multiple pregnancies, which have higher stillborn and neo-natal death rates. "It is ironic that, whatever the scientists say, the true aim of the new test is to detect and eliminate disabled embryos. It is not going to be 'safer' for them. It is simply a more efficient way of detecting and throwing away human beings solely because they have a disability. This is a monstrous attack on the value of human life and on the value of disabled people in particular."

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