Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_89349

Time to choose the future

19 July 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 267

On 16 July, the UK's Human Genetics Commission (HGC) began a nationwide consultation into the role of genetics in reproductive decision making. The aim of the consultation, entitled 'Choosing the Future', is to gauge the range of public opinion on issues raised by the use of genetic tests in reproduction, such as what genetic disorders should be routinely tested for during pregnancy. The HGC's Working Group on Genetics and Reproductive Decision Making will present their findings to the Department of Health in the autumn of 2005.

To inform the debate, the HGC has published a discussion document, Genetics and Reproductive Decision Making. The document provides the history, status quo and potential future of the use of genetics in reproduction and poses several questions, to which the public are invited to respond. Members of a consultative panel, made up of people suffering from or caring for someone suffering from a genetic disorder, punctuate the publication with personal experiences and opinion.

'At the heart of the issue is where do we, as a society, strike the balance between individual needs and wants, [and] the wider social consequences of the decisions we make', said Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the HGC, who co-chairs the working group with Professor Martin Richards. Richards, of the Family Research Centre at Cambridge University, said that 'our eugenic history is important in this context'.

A spokesperson for LIFE, which claims to be the UK's eugenic leading pro-life organisation, said they hoped 'the consultation will reveal that most people now believe that things have gone too far', but assessing the prevalence of opinion is beyond the remit of this consultation. Instead the consultation seeks to find only the range of beliefs. Responses can be submitted by letter, fax, email and the Internet, with a deadline of 15 October 2004 (see Recommends for details). Launching the public consultation, Lady Kennedy said the HGC is 'keen to hear from as many people as possible'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
'Designer babies' consultation launched
The Scotsman |  16 July 2004
National consultation on designer babies
The Guardian |  16 July 2004
Probe into ethics of gene testing
BBC News Online |  16 July 2004
Public to be consulted on 'designer baby' ethics
The Independent |  16 July 2004
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
10 August 2009 - by Ben Jones 
A Chinese firm has begun offering DNA testing of children for 11 genes which it claims can be used to predict the child’s future talents and thus allow parents to target their rearing of the child towards its supposed latent potential. The Shanghai Biochip Corporation, which provides the test...
13 February 2006 - by Diane Blood 
A recent report from the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) - the UK government's advisory body on genetics - 'Making Babies: Reproductive decisions and genetic technologies' is the latest in a string of reports designed to help the UK form new legislation on assisted reproduction. I was deeply concerned to read of this...
13 February 2006 - by Dr John Gillott 
Baroness Kennedy, launching the Human Genetics Commission (HGC)'s new report, Making Babies: reproductive decisions and genetic technologies, said: 'Science, harnessed by society to prevent real suffering, is a social good. However, a culture which does not acknowledge that all humanity has a value, and that each one of us...
1 February 2006 - by BioNews 
The UK's Human Genetics Commission (HGC) has issued a report that says advances in the techniques that can be used by families at risk of passing on genetic diseases to their children are to be welcomed, but also need careful monitoring. The report, called 'Making Babies: reproductive decisions and genetic...
HAVE YOUR SAY
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.