Insights from the UK and beyond
Is hybrid embryo research “monstrous?”
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which MPs are debating today and on Tuesday allows the creation of four types of human-animal hybrid embryos for the purposes of research, including Cytoplasmic hybrids, created by transferring the nucleus of a human cell into an empty animal cell.
This is the main type of hybrid embryo that scientists want to use — because of a shortage of donated human eggs — to create embryonic stem cells to find cures for conditions like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
Gordon Brown launched an impassioned defence of the need for hybrid embryos over the weekend, calling it an “inherently moral endeavour.” His younger son Fraser has cystic fibrosis, a condition which could benefit from such embryo research.
But some critics are horrified by such “Frankenstein science.” Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland says hybrid embryo research is “monstrous” and should be banned.
Which side do you think is right?