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SPUC criticises screening of IVF embryos

2 November 2004

Westminster, 2 November, 2004 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has criticised a decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to allow IVF embryos to be screened for the gene that can cause bowel cancer. Paul Tully, SPUC's General Secretary, said: "This is a very significant decision to extend the use of genetic selection. Embryos are discarded because they appear prone to develop diseases in the future. How long will it be before social factors or personality-traits are used to decide which embryos will be allowed to live? "This news has been misleadingly reported in some quarters as holding promise in the fight against cancer, but cancer is not cured by killing potential cancer patients. It is morally unacceptable to destroy early human lives on grounds of disability or potential ill-health later in life. "The fact that such a decision was made by a tiny group of unidentified individuals is an insult to democracy, which stifles any possibility of public debate and scrutiny. Is the HFEA perhaps afraid that, given the opportunity, the public might oppose these decisions?"

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