Right to Life is disappointed that the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology [ACART] has given approval for a designer baby. A woman was given permission by ACART to select a baby through Pre implantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD, that had the desired genetic makeup to provide stem cells at birth to be used as a transplant for an older child who had life threatening sickle cell anaemia. The outgoing Minister of Health has given approval for the expansion of genetic testing that will now make it possible for doctors to select “saviour siblings” to help treat children already born with certain genetic diseases.
The procedure requires that doctors play God by creating a number of human embryos in a Petri dish. The optimum number of embryos required for PGD is ten to fifteen, the minimum number is eight. The doctor selects the embryo most suitable with the required genetic makeup. The remainder are either discarded or frozen and stored. There are more than 11,000 human embryos in storage in New Zealand.This is a massive violation of human rights.
Right to Life has great sympathy and compassion for this family that loves and cares for their child who is afflicted with sickle cell anaemia. However PGD and IVF is not an ethical and moral solution. Every child has the right to be conceived in its mother’s womb and not in a Petri dish. PGD discriminates against those human embryos that do not have the genetic makeup desired.
This procedure entails a massive disrespect for human life at its very beginning and is a serious violation of human rights. Human life begins at the moment of conception. At conception every human being is endowed with an inalienable right to life. Each one of us began our life’s journey as an embryo. The human embryo should be treated with the respect that is due to the human person. For God, the author of life, has conferred on man the duty of safeguarding life, a ministry which must be fulfilled in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore, from the moment of conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care.
It is a cause of great sadness that this family in its commendable desire to help a very sick child, should accept the rejection and probable destruction of possibly seven or more of their embryonic children as the price they were required to pay for a possible cure for their sick child.
Right to Life requests that ACART consider seriously the human rights implications of granting permission for designer babies intended to be a saviour for a previously born sibling. ACART is embarking on a path of eugenics that decides who shall be allowed to be born and who will be killed before birth. The door once opened to PGD selection of suitable designer embryos will only be the start of a more dangerous journey down the road of eugenics.
Right to Life