April 21, 2024

UK fertility regulator to allow destruction of embryos for minor defects

HFEA complains at distorted reporting

Pete SamprasThe UK’s controversial fertility regulator is again in the hot seat
over its decision to allow clinics to destroy embryos with relatively minor
genetic defects. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has
published a list of 116 inherited conditions which fertility clinics can screen
out without requiring special permission, says the London Times. These include
conditions carried by successful people without great difficulty such as
thalassaemia (tennis great Pete Sampras) and Marfan syndrome (Abraham Lincoln).
It is considering adding another 24 conditions to the list.

If a condition is on the list, UK fertility clinics will be able to
screen embryos for it and destroy it, if the parents ask them to do so.

The head of the HFEA, Professor Lisa Jardine, was indignant at how the news
was reported. In a letter she complained that the London Times
article was “inaccurate and misleading and could cause confusion and distress
for… families”. She insisted that parents did not make such decisions lightly
and that the embryos were “just three days old and made up of about eight
cells”. ~ London Times, Jan 24

Michael Cook
genetic testing