Muslim Response to the report of the House of Lords/House of Commons Joint Committee on the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill.
The Joint Committee on the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill has called for the requirement for licenses to be removed from many areas of research involving human embryos. This amongst other proposals could be in the bill which is expected to be included in the Queen's Speech in November
We would like, on behalf of the Islamic Medical Association in the UK, to comment on some of the proposals:
Firstly: It must be made clear that we British Muslims do not accept the immoral and unethical procedure where donated sperm or eggs are used in conception.
The only acceptable source of sperm and egg for conception is from the mother and father of the hoped for child, who are living together in a legal marriage.
Every child needs to know his/her identity and live in a stable family with their own genetic mother and father.
Any other form of conception is harmful to the child and is contrary to Muslim and Christian Holy Scriptures.
Second: Every child needs a father, the bill would remove the provision that IVF clinics should take into account the need for a father.
THIRD: A child is a great gift from GOD, the Creator, and should come in the natural way, as an unexpected joy to the parents. Children, so called “Saviour siblings”, should not be made or created so that their tissues can be used to help in the treatment of an older brother or sister, .
The report recommends that any "serious" condition, not just "life-threatening" ones, justifies the process of creating and destroying numerous IVF embryos in the hope of bringing one to birth that can provide cord blood or bone marrow to treat the older child. This is an unethical and immoral medical practice which devalues the humanity of the donor child.
We should look for ethical alternatives in medical research such as adult stem cell research in order to find a treatment or a cure. Adult stem cell research has been rich in successes where embryo cell research has been sadly lacking in success.
Fourth: The report calls for the regulator (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority - HFEA) to have power to exempt whole areas of research from the need for a license. In these areas, scientists would have total freedom to create, manipulate and destroy any number of human embryos.
We strongly recommend that any regulator body on fertility or the use of human tissue has a wide representation of views, including those of Christian and Muslim believers.
All British Muslims should be deeply disturbed by this report and do all in their power to oppose the bill should it be introduced to Parliament.
Dr A. Majid Katme (MBBCh, DPM)
Spokesman: Islamic Medical Association/UK
Tel: 07944 240 622
Address: Dr A. Majid Katme 31 North Circular Road Palmers Green London N13 5EG