"Designer Baby" Lab Being Built in Britain

LONDON, DEC. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Britain´s first «designer baby» laboratory is being built by a fertility expert, a move critics fear is pushing the country further down the slippery slope of eugenics.

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Mohammed Taranissi is creating the lab just to offer families with seriously ill children the chance to select genetically designed embryos, the Guardian newspaper reported today.

These embryos in theory would provide healthy genes that can cure children with diseases which may kill them if a compatible donor cannot be found.

The controversial service means that Taranissi will create a younger brother or sister to be the perfect donor for the ill child, and he is hoping that the human fertilization and embryology authority will give him a license to do so.

But Egyptian-born Taranissi has said he will go ahead with the lab even if the authority refuses his request.

Critics argue that this is the start of a slippery slope that leads to designer babies where parents will be able to select various traits of their child. There is also concern surrounding the possibility of it leading to the creation of a baby solely for a major organ, the Guardian noted.

Lord Winston, who helped invent embryo screening techniques, told BBC´s Newsnight that the line must be drawn here.

«It really troubles me that some of my colleagues are prepared to consider a child as a commodity,» he said. «I think that´s fundamentally wrong and I think it´s fundamentally dangerous. There is a principle at stake here.»

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