Letter: 'Designer' babies: false concerns, researchers' arrogance, threat to life

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rosie Waterhouse's article detailing plans for the use of eggs from the ovaries of aborted baby girls in fertility treatment (3 January) came as no surprise. This 'treatment' has been predictable for some time, and one must agree with David Alton that the development is 'macabre and gruesome'. As a medical practitioner, I understand the fascination of pushing back the frontiers of science, but with knowledge must also come responsibility; because we can do something, it does not follow that we should do it.

I am aware of the pain that the loss of an unborn child brings and of the need to come to terms with childlessness, since both my own pregnancies ended in spontaneous miscarriage. I am not speaking from a coldly clinical point of view. It seems incredible that, on the one hand, tens of thousands of unborn babies are being destroyed, while on the other it is being suggested that they should be used to supply eggs to enable infertile women to become pregnant. Is it nave to suggest that these unwanted babies should be allowed to survive, be born and be adopted by childless people? The majority of aborted babies are perfectly normal.

Dr Peter Brinsden apparently said that 'in a few years, if people accept it, maybe we can go on to create life'. It is not clear quite what is meant by 'to create life'. Taken at face value, this appears to be monumental arrogance. The conception of a child, by normal intercourse or some form of assisted conception, can never

be the creation of life: man only


Yours faithfully,


Machen, Mid Glamorgan

3 January