A medical revolution or meddling with nature? Opinions are sharply split in Spain after health authorities authorised the genetic screening of embroys to check for certain types of cancer. The process was allowed in two specific cases for women undergoing fertility treatment.
Defending the decision, Assisted Human Reproduction doctor Luis Izquierdo said the method reduces stress and pain for families who want to spare their offspring from a serious disease. Referring to the breast cancer and thyroid cancer for which screening was permitted, he said the death rate is very high. In a separate ruling, screening has been authorised in six other cases to help parents have babies with the genetic make-up to to cure older siblings. The mother of a two-year-old girl in need of a bone marrow transplant, Francisca Alcalde said she is now hoping to have a child at the start of next year. The genetic selection of embryos has been condemned by Catholic bishops in Spain. The country’s Socialist government has also angered the Roman Catholic Church with proposals to liberalise laws on abortion.