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Designer baby boom?

Britain's regulatory authority rules out explosion in the production of designer babies.

Pat Hagan(phagan@btinternet.com)

The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has ruled out a dramatic increase in the production of so-called "designer babies," despite a Court of Appeal decision to allow one couple to create a child in the hope of saving their sick son.

Raj and Shahana Hashmi were told yesterday (April 8) that they would be allowed to go ahead with the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and tissue-typing techniques in order to find a healthy embryo that is a perfect tissue match for four-year-old Zain, who has the blood disorder β-thalassaemia.

The decision overturned a ruling by the High Court last December that the HFEA had no power to license tissue typing by fertility clinics, effectively barring the Hashmis from pursuing the search for a treatment.

The latest twist in the tale means doctors can now go ahead and use PGD to screen the Hashmi's embryos. If a...

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