April 12, 2024

Frankenstein report” splits UK parliamentary committee

A UK parliamentary committee has published libertarian proposals for a radical change of direction for government policy on reproduction and fertility treatment. It endorses sex selection, the creation of mixed-species embryos and anonymity for egg and sperm donors. It also calls for the scrapping of the current requirement that IVF clinics make the welfare of the child their first concern. Most controversial of all, it says that a total ban on reproductive cloning cannot be justified without further debate on fundamental issues, even if it is unsafe at the moment.

Although the report by the House of Commons’ select committee on science and technology was widely publicised, it was disavowed by half of its members, with one of them dubbing it “the Frankenstein report”. The five dissenting members issued their own statement: “We believe this report is unbalanced, light on ethics, goes too far in the direction of deregulation and is too dismissive of public opinion and much of the evidence,” they said.

The committee’s chairman, Ian Gibson, countered that “There’s a rightwing drift in the world and in the country. A report like this makes people think in a much more open way about how babies are selected and the technologies and the science.”