LONDON, April 13, 2004 ( – Pro-life activists, philosophers and Church leaders have warned for years that the in vitro fertilization industry will lead to the creation of people as property and for use in experiments. Now the creation of designer babies is being taken a step forward. A UK fertility doctor is hoping to use eugenic embryo-screening techniques to create a baby to be used as a tissue farm. Mohammed Taranissi, Director of the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre in London, wants to create a tissue-match donor for a child, Joshua Fletcher, who has a rare blood disorder, called Diamond Blackfan anaemia (DBA).

It is possible that an infusion of healthy cells from a matched-tissue donor will cure Joshua of the life-threatening disease. Currently the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has no rules against the creation of a person for use as a tissue source. Dr. Taranissi however, is launching a legal challenge to a rule that only allows the creation of a child if he or she is likely to be disease-free. Joshua’s disorder is genetically inherited and a sibling is at an equal risk of developing the disease.

In April 2003 an appeal court, at the request of the HFEA, overturned a High Court decision banning the creation of children to be used as tissue donors for siblings.  Dr. Taranissi’s clinic pioneered the genetic testing of IVF embryos for abnormalities. In March 2002, Taranissi was quoted by the BBC saying, “It also means we can weed out problem embryos before a woman becomes pregnant.” He hopes to use the genetic screening technique to “weed out” embryos who have the gene for Joshua’s disease.

After the 2003 decision Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) said that the genetic screening and tissue typing procedure is “a form of enslavement for the child who’s created.”

BBC news coverage:

CORE website for commentary on IVF ethics:


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