November 29, 2023

Artificial sperm proposed in UK debate over fertility bill

Could allow lesbian couples to ignore fathers

An amendment to a proposed new fertility bill for the UK could legalise the use of artificial sperm and eggs. Critics claim that it would allow lesbian couples to create their own sperm for the production of fatherless babies. The idea was tossed out last year after fathers rights groups, amongst others, objected. However, Lord Patel, an obstetrics expert, made a moving plea on behalf of women who are unable to produce their own eggs. Now the government whip, Lady Royall, says that the Government may reintroduce the plan when the Bill returns to the House of Commons.

A potentially even more radical amendment is being promoted by a group of leading UK scientific organisations. They want to “future proof” the legislation by making it easier to move from research to clinical applications. At the moment the regulator — the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority — can only license research, not therapies. The proposed amendment would allow doctors to offer stem cell therapies if they have some chance of success.

And the scientists are also fighting off a last-ditch attempt by pro-life groups to ban the use of hybrid embryos, which will be legal under the proposed legislation. They say that human-animal embryos are vital for research into genetic diseases. And as a kind of verbal air-freshener, they suggest that the bill rename hybrid embryos, “human admixed” embryos. ~ BBC, Jan 15; London Telegraph, Jan 16