For immediate release: Thursday 24th March 2005
GeneWatch UK response to Science and Technology Select Committee report on Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law
If sex selection of embryos is allowed, there will be no barrier to choosing embryos or terminating pregnancies according to whatever genetic tests are available, GeneWatch warned today in response to the Science and Technology Select Committees report on Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law (1).
"Currently, making decisions about whether genetic tests on embryos are allowed is based on the implications for the future health of the baby. If people can chose the sex of their baby on purely social grounds, there can be no reason to deny people making other choices about the eye or hair colour of their babies if the tests become available", said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UKs Director. "The Science and Technology Committee do not seem to have considered the inevitable consequences of their recommendations".
Research conducted by the HFEA has shown widespread public disapproval of sex selection for other than serious medical reasons (2).
GeneWatch has also provided evidence to the HFEA on the commercial influences behind sex selection and companies desire to introduce new technologies and increase the market (3).
"The Science and Technology Committee wants to treat babies as another variety of baked beans or washing powder. The public have already expressed their horror over sex selection and are unlikely to support MPs having more influence over such decisions if babies as fashion accessories is their starting point", said Dr Mayer.
Dr Sue Mayer on 01298 871898 (office) or 07930 308807 (mobile)
Notes to editors:
- The Science and Technology Select Committees report on Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law can be accessed at: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_and_technology_committee.cfm
- Public outrage prompts ban on baby sex selection . The Guardian, November 12, 2003. http://www.guardian.co.uk/genes/article/0,2763,1082860,00.html
- GeneWatch UK Submission to the HFEA Consultation on Sex Selection. January 2003 http://www.genewatch.org/HumanGen/Selection/Sex_selection.rtf