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Defending life from the moment of conception

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SPUC criticises 'designer baby' decision

23 February 2002

SPUC criticises 'designer-baby' decision Westminster, 23 February 2002--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has criticised the HFEA's decision to allow the Hashmi family of Leeds to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select a sibling for their son who needs a bone-marrow transplant. Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, said: "We condemn the HFEA's sanctioning of the destruction of any number of embryos simply because they do not happen to be a good tissue-match for the young boy. The selection of an embryo in this way brings us to the brink of genetic manipulation of our progeny. "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. 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) "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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