Campaigners win 'designer baby' challenge

 In a major victory for the British pro-life movement, the high court in London ruled on Friday that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) acted beyond its powers in authorising the creation of a so-called designer baby. Josephine Quintavalle, on behalf of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), had brought a judicial review against the HFEA's decision to authorise the use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) by the Hashmi family to create a baby who would serve as a perfect tissue donor for an older sick sibling. In finding in favour of CORE, Mr Justice Maurice Kay said that it was "a difficult area of medical science and ethics", but that parliament had "tightly drawn" the legislation which regulates embryology to "restrict the potential for misuse of science and technology". Paul Tully of SPUC said: "Josephine Quintavalle, on behalf of CORE, has taken a most courageous stand on this critically important issue, and is to be congratulated on the success of her case. "SPUC has great sympathy for the Hashmis and other families carrying potentially harmful genetic conditions. The development of ethical means of treating these conditions, such as the use of combination immuno-suppressant regimes to facilitate tissue transplants, must be prioritised, instead of diverting resources into scientifically interesting, but legally and morally unacceptable techniques. "At the same time, we regard it as deplorable to use the suffering of families and children as a means of emotional blackmail to demand that human embryos in the test-tube can be chopped up, tested and discarded as if they were inert samples from an industrial chemical process. The HFEA has announced its intention to appeal.

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