By Hilary White

LONDON,  July 13, 2006 ( – The British government has announced that fathers are not a requirement for a family in IVF cases. In a decision that is being hailed as a victory by lesbians and gays,  British Health Minister, Carolyn Flint, said to the committee considering the changes that there was “probably not a case” for keeping “the need for a father” clause in the rules. “We are considering whether the need for a father is something we need to have.”
“That does not mean fathers are not important. What’s important is that the children are going to be, as far as we know, part of a loving family,” she declaimed.
  The move is part of a general overhaul by the Department of Health of the rules governing IVF and related reproductive technologies. One of the proposed changes is to outlaw sex-selection in IVF for anything but “medical” reasons.
  The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act—passed in 1990—requires IVF facilities to include the welfare of the expected children in considering whether to go ahead with treatment. The act also stressed the importance of fathers to children.
  Some critics of the law have said that restricting in vitro and other artificial methods of procreation to families with fathers was “offensive” to “unconventional families.”
  Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) said the decision, in attempting to avoid discrimination against lesbians—a tiny fraction of the population—ended by discriminating against all fathers.
  Gerald Howarth, chairman of the Lords and Commons Family and Child said the move was “further evidence of Tony Blair’s obsession with political correctness and social engineering. It does a great disservice to young people.”
  The Daily Mail quotes Howarth saying, “All the evidence suggests that ideally families need fathers, and [Tory opposition leader] David Cameron has said that very firmly.”
  The changes will come into effect this year. 


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