Hashmis can go ahead with embryo tissue-typing
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust
15 May 2003
The UK Court of Appeal has overturned a previous High Court ruling that prevented Raj and Shahana Hashmi from using IVF along with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and 'tissue typing'. The new ruling means they can continue with attempts to conceive a healthy child who would be a possible cord blood donor for their four year-old son Zain, who is affected by the potentially fatal disease beta-thalassaemia.
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) had allowed the use of the procedure in December 2001 after a request from the Hashmis. Shahana Hashmi began IVF treatment last year, but was unsuccessful. Last December, after a successful challenge by pro-life campaigner Josephine Quintavalle of the pressure group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), the UK High Court ruled that the HFEA had acted outside of its powers in allowing the procedure.
The HFEA's appeal was heard last week. In a rare move at the Court of Appeal, Shahana Hashmi was allowed to personally address the court and pleaded with the judges to help to save her son. The three appeal court judges will not give the reasons for their decision until after Easter, but the Hashmis can start their treatment immediately, based on the ruling already given.
Dr Simon Fishel, director of CARE at the Park Hospital in Nottingham and the doctor treating the Hashmis, said that the ruling would not open the floodgates to large numbers of 'designer babies'. He said 'From the public's point of view they should have no fear because cases such as the Hashmis and the procedures involved will remain highly regulated by the HFEA and strict conditions will apply to all couples seeking this treatment on a case by case basis'. Dr Fishel said he was also advising six other couples whose children had illnesses that might be cured with a cell transplant from a tissue-matched sibling.
© Copyright Progress Educational Trust
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.
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