The government is to undertake a major relaxation of in vitro fertilisation rules in a new proposed bill.
Some key elements included allowing hybrid animal-human embryos for testing, rules which could actually make it easier for single people and lesbians to receive fertility treatment, and it would give equal parenting rights to same sex partnerships.
After a hailstorm of criticism from the British scientific community of a proposal that would limit the use of hybrid animal-human embryos to conduct experiment, the ministers decided to approve a bill that would allow such experiments to take place.
Last year a ban was placed on creating the “Frankenstein” hybrid embryos, due to considerable public unease, and they feared a backlash from religious groups.
Since researchers were currently relying only human eggs left over from fertility treatments, there was a very small supply available for scientific testing.
This new proposal would allow hybrid embryo testing with which scientists hope to find cures for illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and Alzheimer’s.
This was just one change offered in the draft of the Human Tissues and Embryos Bill.
Under current laws, fertility clinics have to consider the baby’s need for a father before providing treatment, and the new draft would abolish that necessity.
Most significantly this would make it easier for lesbian couples to have IVF children using donated sperm.
The draft legislation also bans couples from choosing the gender of their child, tightens the law on screening embryos for diseases, and would give couples in same sex civil partnerships equal rights as parents in traditional marriages.
If passed the draft bill will completely overhaul the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
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