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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Human embryo's status further eroded

13 December 2001

Human embryo's status further eroded Westminster, 13 December 2001--The decision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to sanction the use of PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) to enable children to be born for use as transplant donors has been condemned by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) as a further erosion of the status of the human embryo. Commenting on the decision, Paul Tully of SPUC said: "Once again, tragic cases are being used to justify the abuse of human embryos. This technique means that large numbers of embryos--dozens or even hundreds--will be created in the search for a tissue match. Embryos that don't provide the match will be discarded. Those that match may be transferred to the womb in the hope that they will survive to birth. "The discarded embryos will receive no recognition of their humanity--they will be discarded because they are unwanted. In sanctioning this the HFEA have reached a new depth of contempt for the embryos they are purported to protect. "We do not lack sympathy for people suffering from potentially fatal diseases, but we believe they should be offered ethical treatments. Exactly the kind of case for which PGD is being proposed can now be addressed by a new technique. Only this week a major development has been reported in bone marrow transplants where there is no close tissue-matched sibling. "The life of Amy Thompson was saved by the use of new combinations of immuno-suppressant drugs. Amy suffered from potentially fatal aplastic anaemia but she and others have been cured through the use of this ethical technique." (See: "Amy's breakthrough gives sick children hope for the future" Lorraine Fraser, Sunday Telegraph 09/12/2001) Paul Tully added: "Parents should not be forced to accept unethical procedures like PGD in order to give their children a chance. Furthermore, it could create psychological scars for the children receiving treatment to know that their cure has been at the expense of brother and sister embryos destroyed in the search for a compatible donor."

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