September 7, 2004

Screened baby to save life of fatally ill brother

A couple were recently given the green light by Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to undergo embryo screening treatment. It is hoped that the selected baby's stem cells will stimulate the growth of healthy red blood cells in its fatally ill 2 year old brother, Joshua Fletcher. Neither Joshua's parents, Joe and Julie Fletcher, nor his brother, 5-year old Adam, are close enough matches to donate the stem cells that he needs.

This is a good call and hopefully an important precedent. The way I look at it, instead of one dead 2-year old there's going to be two healthy and loved kids. And the younger sibling will always know that its "special cells" saved the life of its big brother.

The HFEA noted that subsequent cases would be judged on individual merit and the decision was not opening the flood gates for 'designer babies'.

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