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Older mothers capable of being good parents

October 28th, 2006

Age is no bar to being a good mother and there is no reasonto prevent pensioners from becoming parents, researchers have found.

Women in their 50s and 60s who conceive after fertility treatment are just as capable of being good parents as women in their 30s and 40s, a study has shown.

from the Independent Online

IVF babies as stem cell donors for siblings

October 22nd, 2006

“A new study is to focus on the issues surrounding the creation of genetically selected babies to become stem cell donors for sick brothers and sisters.”

Read more…

Irish infertility group critical of poster campaign

September 2nd, 2006

A group representing couples suffering infertility difficulties has criticised the Youth Defence embryonic stem cell research poster campaign featuring a baby asking “don’t use me for spare parts”.

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More on stem cells

August 31st, 2006

“Biologists have developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells from an early human embryo without destroying it.”

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New method for retrieving embryonic stem cells

August 29th, 2006

“Biologists have developed a technique for establishing colonies of human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a method that, if confirmed in other laboratories, would seem to remove the principal objection to stem cell research”

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Stem cell debate - a timeline

July 27th, 2006

A timeline of the US stem cell policy debate, starting in November 1998 with the isolation of human embryonic stem cells by scientists at the University of Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins University.

From the Washington Post

George Bush vetoes stem cell research

July 25th, 2006

“US President George Bush has vetoed a bill passed by Congress that would have removed restrictions on federally-funded human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in America. The bill is known as the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (HR 810)”

Good overview of the debate and the veto with links to media reports…

Britain moves to outlaw social sex selection

July 22nd, 2006

From the BBC:

Choosing the sex of babies for social reasons will be banned, Health Minister Caroline Flint has said.

The government intends to change the law to outlaw sex selection for non-medical reasons, she said.”

New test for genetic disorders

June 21st, 2006

New test for genetic disorders raises designer baby concerns from ABC Online (Australia)

"Scientists in the UK have developed a new, more accurate procedure to test for serious genetic disorders in embryos … The new method allows doctors to identify embryos carrying genetic conditions more quickly but it has reignited the debate over designer babies."

read more…

“Designer babies” in the news

May 18th, 2006
Over the last week there have been several newspaper stories, mainly from the UK, about "designer babies".

The Sun (UK) proclaims its sensational headline Designer tot is world first. On closer examination we learn that the couple in question screened their embryos to produce a baby free from a hereditary illness that has inflicted their first child.

Even The Times (UK) published an article entitled First baby in Britain designed cancer free about a couple who have again used PGD to screen their embryos for a form of eye cancer.

The use of the words "design" and "designer" evokes images of people using these technologies to screen embryos not only for disease but for positive attributes such as intelligence and preferred hair or eye colour. It is this Gattaca like image that fuels debates over the ethics of using PGD to screen embryos.

Dr Alan Thornhill, Scientific Director, London Fertility Centre and Honorary Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College London via Bionews has a more realistic view:

"To get the desired combination of high intelligence alleles in just one baby, more than 5000 embryos would need to be tested. It would take a woman 40 years of continuous IVF with PGD to achieve this. In short, 'designing' babies using PGD is a non-starter."

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