Designer baby raises ethics fear


 Fears have been raised over the ethics of creating "designer babies" following the birth of America baby Adam Nash. Several couples in the UK have already opted for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), to avoid giving birth to children with serious genetic diseases such as haemophilia and cystic fibrosis. But Adam's parents decided to have another child using PGD, in order that tissue from his body could be used to save his sister from Fanconi's anaemia - a genetic life-threatening disease. The procedure has already begun although doctors are not sure whether it will be successful yet. Dr Michael Jarmulowicz, from the Guild of Catholic Doctors, said the case was a very disturbing development. He said: "All children should be born for their own sake, not as a purpose for someone else's benefit." Head of ethics and policy at the British Medical Association Dr Vivienne Nathanson said: "Stem cell harvesting is harmless, but if there is a need to carry out a bone transplant (on Adam) then it is not without risk and is an extremely uncomfortable procedure. Where do you draw the line?" Dr Paul Vey, consultant in stem cell transplants at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, said: "It raises questions about where the cut off line should be in genetic screening. It is a start towards being able to choose the right coloured eyes or the right intelligence." Kevin Male, from Life, said the application of PGD to produce a 'designer baby' was eugenics. He said: "This baby was brought into the world to do a job. It is about people being killed to get the child you want. This is what our parents and grandparents fought against 60 years ago." Further guidance on the use of PGD will be issued next next year following a public consultation exercise led by the regulatory body, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

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