Britain: vitro fertilization is ruled legally

Using in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>vitro fertilization to create a baby that might cure sick siblings was ruled legally acceptable by Britain's highest appeal court on Thursday. The Law Lords upheld a Court of Appeal ruling in 2003 that said some couples using fertility treatment could get their embryos screened for tissue matches for gravely ill children.

&to=http:// ' target=_blank>Anti-abortion groups had challenged the ruling, alleging it would encourage the creation of human beings "to provide spare parts for another." Supporters say the ruling may help save desperately ill children.

The case stems from Raj and Shahana Hashmi's desire to conceive a child whose tissue is a match for their six-year-old son Zain, who has a rare blood disorder, reports CBC News.

According to Independent News, the test case centred on an Appeal Court judgment in April 2003 which overturned a ban on the use of the controversial treatment to save the couple's terminally ill son. Zain, six, suffers from thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder and needs blood transfusions every three weeks. He might be cured with a stem-cell transplant but no matching donor has been found.

The Hashmis had fertility treatment in which their embryos were tested and tissue typed to match Zain before being replaced in Mrs Hashmi's womb. But the attempt failed when Mrs Hashmi, now 38, miscarried.

The couple's efforts to produce a saviour sibling were temporarily blocked by Josephine Quintavalle and her campaigning group, Comment on Reproductive Ethics, who took the case to the law lords, after the HFEA approved the treatment. Ms Quintavalle claimed the HFEA had acted beyond its powers and the creation of "designer babies" was against the law.

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