Lords Lifts Final Legal Barrier to 'Saviour Siblings'
Laurance, Jeremy, The Independent (London, England)
The final legal barrier to the creation of 'saviour siblings' to treat children seriously ill with genetic disorders has been swept away by the law lords. In a landmark case, the House of Lords ruled yesterday that using modern reproductive techniques to create babies to be used to treat siblings could be authorised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
The decision delighted scientists and marked a victory for the couple at the centre of the case, Raj and Shahana Hashmi, who are hoping to have a baby with a similar tissue type to their son Zain to treat his rare blood disorder. Mrs Hashmi said : 'It's nice to know society has now embraced the technology to cure the sick and take away the pain. It has been a long and hard battle for all the family and we have finally heard the news we wanted to hear.
'We feel this ruling marks a new era and we are happy to move forward now. We hope and pray we get what we need for Zain. He has been our inspiration throughout all of this. We haven't got the words to say how much we have appreciated everyone's support through this time; thank you doesn't seem enough.'
The test case centred on an Appeal Court judgment in April 2003 which overturned a ban on the use of the controversial treatment to save the couple's terminally ill son. Zain, six, suffers from thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder and needs blood transfusions every three weeks. He might be cured with a stem-cell transplant but no matching donor has been found.
The Hashmis had fertility treatment in which their embryos were tested and tissue typed to match Zain before being replaced in Mrs Hashmi's womb. But the attempt failed when Mrs Hashmi, now 38, miscarried. …