UK Embryo Authority Gives License for Eugenic ‘Search and Destroy’ Embryo Screening

LONDON, November 1, 2004 ( - The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has moved forward another step into the brave new world of cloning and eugenics by allowing embryos created in IVF labs to be ‘screened’ for the gene for a particular form of cancer.

The HFEA has granted a license for University College Hospital in London to genetically examine embryos for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), an inherited genetic colon condition. Any embryo carrying the gene will be selected out and killed at the request of parents’ who opt for the procedure.

The mapping of the human genome has allowed scientists to identify the genes for certain diseases and abnormalities that may be passed on to children. The so-called ‘screening’ of embryos for genetic or other kinds of abnormalities, called ‘pre-implantation genetic diagnosis’ (PGD) has become common in IVF labs around the world.

Supporters of the practice argue that PGD allows parents to ensure they do not pass the condition on to their child. But the actual practice of PGD ensures that the child who already exists and carries the unwanted gene, herself becomes ‘unwanted’ and is killed in favour of a more perfect, wanted child.

Pro-life activists have warned of a resurgence of eugenics in the practices of IVF. PGD is only one of a number of “search and destroy” practices commonly used against embryonic human beings. Further, the spokesman for the HFEA said there is only a 50% chance of passing on the gene from parent to child and not all children born with the gene actually develop the disease.

One British mother, Emma Stevenson, who carries the gene, said that she would not have chosen the procedure. “I have the gene and I’m glad to know, but I don’t think I would have wanted Katie tested,” she said.  TimesOnline coverage:,,2-1339197,00.html   ph

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