LONDON, October 16, 2001 ( – British newspapers report that an unnamed couple has undergone IVF treatment in the United States to select a child with a genetic match to their four-year-old son who has leukemia. The unborn “designer” baby is expected to be born at the end of the year.

The parents say the procedure was undertaken in case their son’s leukemia relapses and he is in need of a bone marrow transplant. The mother traveled to Chicago for the £30,000 treatment.

As with all IVF treatment, the procedure creates many embryos (live children) and implants only a few, the rest of which are either frozen and stored, discarded and thus destroyed/killed, donated to research resulting in their death or given to other couples for adoption. A child with the specific genetic match is selected from among the created embryos using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

Another UK couple has requested the right to have the same procedure performed in Britain.

See the BBC coverage: