Bioethics Blogs

Fools Rushing In?

Trevor Stammers is our guest blogger for today.  Dr. Stammers is the Programme Director for Bioethics and Medical Law at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham in London.  Prior to St. Mary’s, he practiced as a family physician for 27 years and was a senior tutor in General Practice at St George’s, University of London.  He is also the editor for the multidisciplinary journal The New Bioethics.  Thanks to Trevor for taking the time to provide a British perspective on an issue which is being debated in that country as well as in the United States. — CMC

As widely predicted, the House of Lords voted last week overwhelmingly to approve Regulations for 3 and 4 parent IVF to be permitted in the UK; already there is press speculation that the first baby from this technique could be born by October 2016. At least the debate in the Lords lasted around four hours whereas the Commons only took 90 minutes to pass it (compared to 90 hours of debate over banning fox hunting with dogs).   So the race is on for the UK to be the first.  So why am I, as a physician-bioethicist, not cheering enthusiastically with the crowd as the starter’s gun is fired?

Though I hope as much as those championing this cause that it will result in healthy newborns with no subsequent risk to them or their children, the haste with which the UK has rushed this through with so many questions unanswered worries me. The Lords debate did nothing to reassure me.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.