May 25, 2024

The ultimate incest?

MPs advocate artificial eggs and sperm

As some British MPs fight to restrict scientists’ ability to tinker with human reproduction, others are battling to extend it. One feature of the revised Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill regulates the creation of artificial gametes. The current draft allows them to be created, but a cross-party group is seeking to relax its ban on using these to create babies. The Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo, says that she is sympathetic to the notion that the technique – which is still far from proven – could be used to enable cancer survivors to have children. “This is a good bill,” says MP Evan Harris, “but the government needs to recognise a few improvements are still needed — such as allowing the use of artificial gametes — before we can say the UK has rational and progressive regulation.” 

However, Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics denounced it as leading to “the ultimate incest” of one individual creating an embryo from sperm and eggs from his or her own tissue. “If you turn the focus around from infertile adults and think about what you are creating, you always get the perspective you should adopt. I think we are becoming extremely selfish in our attitude to the children we produce,” she told the Guardian. ~ Guardian, Mar 9

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