Christian Medical Fellowship has called on the Government to think again on the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos.
CMF, Britain's largest group of Christian doctors, was responding to today's publication of the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill where, in response to April's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report, the Government has completely dropped its previous opposition to the creation of animal-human hybrids and chimeras. A pre-legislative scrutiny committee is about to examine the draft bill, which is to be introduced into Parliament later this year.
'By caving into pressure from the biotechnology industry the Government has failed to recognise the limitations of science and has patronisingly dismissed major moral and ethical concerns' said CMF General Secretary Dr Peter Saunders. 'Questions like whether to create animal-human embryonic combinations require much more than just scientific knowledge and expertise. Science cannot just embrace new technologies without any consideration of the wider issues involved; it must operate within ethical boundaries.'
'We fully understand and support the desire to find new treatments for serious medical conditions, but all the clinically relevant advances in stem cell treatments have come from ethically non-controversial adult stem cells. This new technology has been sold to vulnerable patient groups without any real evidence that it will yield results.'
'Creating such hybrids is unnecessary and unethical. It would diminish human dignity, blur moral boundaries, and cross the fundamental line that has always separated humans from animals' said Dr Andrew Fergusson, CMF Head of Communications. 'The possible ends do not justify the means.'
CMF welcomed the parallel public debate and consultation being carried out by the Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority, but insisted that Parliament must regulate science responsibly and prevent us from crossing this ethical boundary.