HFEA allows PGD and Tissue Typing
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust
11 September 2001
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced last week that it would, in principle, allow the use of HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) typing, more commonly known as 'tissue typing', in conjunction with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for serious disease.
The HFEA will consider each application to use the test on a case-by-case basis, and says that if licences are issued, they will be subject to strict conditions. These are likely to take into account the severity of the existing sibling's condition and whether all other possibilities of treatment and tissue sources have been considered. Ruth Deech, Chairman of the HFEA, said 'we have considered the ethical, medical and technical implications of this treatment very carefully indeed. Where PGD is already being undertaken, we can see how the use of tissue typing to save the life of a sibling could be justified. We would see this happening only in very rare circumstances and under strict controls.'
The HFEA's decision means that couples at risk of passing on a genetic disease to their children could conceive using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and use PGD in order to select embryos free from the disease. In addition, an embryo could be selected to be a matched donor for an existing sick sibling. When the resulting baby is born, stem cells from its umbilical cord could be transplanted into the affected sibling as part of its treatment.
© 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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