Getting a Designer Baby Take Several Tries, Says Bioethicist

Alerts Parents Seeking Embryo Who Could Aid Ill Sibling

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VALENCIA, Spain, NOV. 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Embryos created to save the life of a sick or dying sibling only come into existence after many failed attempts, warned a bioethics expert.



The 6th National Bioethics Congress was held last week at the Catholic University of Valencia San Vicente Mártir. Justo Aznar, director of the Science of Life Institute at that university, explained the conclusions of the congress to the AVAN news agency.

When parents seek to create a child who could donate blood or bone marrow to a sibling, "There are many ethical problems that undoubtedly rise," he said. "One of the most striking is the objective number of human embryos destroyed to obtain one of these children."

He affirmed that "it is very rare that a suitable embryo is obtained on the first attempt. Many times, a matching pair requires four, five or six attempts. And many times they don’t obtain one."

Aznar said that the first "design baby" came only after 32 failed "attempts," that is, 32 embryos were destroyed.

In general, he added, "the efficiency of the technique is between 1% and 3%, which means that to obtain one, two or three useful design babies to treat a sick sibling, you have to destroy 100 human embryos.”

Aznar explained that “without a doubt, this establishes important ethical problems and above all, it is something parents should know before beginning the process of producing a child by design.”