How the medical experts line up

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The Independent Online
In favour of the new developments:

Ann Furedi, assistant director of the Birth Control Trust.

WE SHOULD be considering using eggs from both cadavers and aborted foetuses. It is vital that the frontiers of science are pushed back, so that we learn as much as possible about the reproductive process. The other reason is that at the moment there are thousands of women who would be able to have much longed for children, if they had access to donated eggs.

There is the assumption that a child born as a result of using eggs from a foetus would be stigmatised, but that is because abortion is stigmatised. People ask: 'How would the child perceive it?' if they found out. 'How would they cope with the idea that their natural parent was dead, or had not been born?'

But you could ask the same question about children born as a result of donated sperm. The man who donated the sperm might subsequently have died. But no one perceives this as a problem.

It raises questions about what parents tell children about their origins. But that is a matter for parents.

Peter Bromwich, medical director of the Midland Fertility Services, a private clinic in Aldridge, West Midlands.

I AM quite happy about the use of foetal material. I would be more worried about the use of eggs from someone who had died, because of the difficulty of asking a husband or mother for permission to remove the eggs at such a difficult time.

It seems to me far harder to tell someone that they are adopted than to tell them that they were born as part of a revolution in fertility services and that the egg from which they developed had been taken from someone whose pregnancy had ended.

Opposed to the new developments:

Robert Balfour, consultant gynaecologist at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, who provides an assisted conception and donor insemination service. He is chairman of the All Party Pro-Life Scientific Committee.

AS FAR as using foetal material goes, I am concerned at the possibility of someone finding out that their mother never existed. The same consideration applies to using eggs from someone who had died.

There is enough trauma for an adopted person in trying to find their natural parents, but to discover that your mother had never been born, or that your mother had been killed in a road accident, would be even more traumatic. If you use foetal material you also do not know about the foetus's possible future development and whether there will be any problems with it.