Comments: More about mitochondrial replacement therapy

iI share your bewilderment as to how the joint signatories could reconcile the contents of the article with their views expressed elsewhere.

Honesty, openness and transparency are vital components of ethics in the medical world; sadly, the Bishops seem not to aspire to similar standards. I can conceive of no circumstances in which my daughter would say one thing to a patient and then promptly contradict it elsewhere; it would be wholly contrary to her professional duty, and profoundly morally repugnant to her.

It may be that the Bishops are still locked in the paternalistic past whilst the medical profession engages with the real world; in that real world the Supreme Court, in its recent judgement on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, has made it plain "that human rights are for everyone, including the most disabled members of our community, and that those rights include the same right to liberty as has everyone else."

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2014/19.html

The difficulty seems to be that the Church just can't get its head around the fact that human rights are for everyone, and not just the ones the Church approves of...


Posted by Stevie Gamble at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 12:19am GMT

The elephant in the room.

I suspect part of the opposition is based on fears that sometime in the future there will be full-blown three-parent embryos, where perhaps half the DNA is from one woman, and one-quarter from each of two men, or likewise half from one man, and one-quarter from each of two women.

And you know where this takes us. The GAFCON primates, reading the papers in (say) Kigali, Sydney or Lagos, will be anticipating that three parent embryos are just a ruse, somewhere down the line, for gay couples to have children carrying the DNA of both partners, as well as that of a donor.

The C of E leadership has long taken an 'anything for a quiet life' approach to GAFCON, and may feel that they need to be seen to oppose this. They will do so just as they opposed gay marriage - they know that it will pass in due course, they just have to show GAFCON that they went down with all guns blazing.

Posted by Sam Roberts at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 9:15am GMT

I am not sure who The Rev Dr Brendan McCarthy reports to in the NCIs but if I were him I would prepare for a difficult conversation. The Bishop of Swindon was placed in an impossible position on the Today programme this morning and it is clear that the CofE engagement with this debate over recent years has been wholly inadequate. Once again the Church is found to have been left behind on an important national issue. It better get its act together during the next part of this far reaching development. Leave efficacy and safety to the experts. How about some serious engagement with the ethics for a change?

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 5:32pm GMT

Well, now that it has been passed with a massive majority on a free vote in the House of Commons it will be interesting to see whether the Bishops will try to throw it out in the House of Lords...

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 9:50pm GMT

The bishop on the Today programme did not fare well, against Lisa Jardine.

He tried to back track on the original crass statement, by saying 'all the Church wants is more thought and care'.

Very patronising.

As Jardine said, "Where have you been all these years ? Werent you listening ?"

Posted by Laurie at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 11:03pm GMT

Anthony Archer

Doctors regard efficacy and safety as vital components of the ethical analysis they undertake in considering whether a treatment is in the best interests of their patient, but you have omitted one of equal importance: the question of 'should we?'

I'm sure you did not mean to deliberately contend that doctors don't ask 'should we' but your comment unfortunately suggests otherwise...

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 1:06am GMT

This is a shocking attitude: 'role mitochondria play in the transfer of hereditary characteristics'.

Mitochondria are just little engines and who cares anyway if a bit of characteristic of the 3rd human comes through.

Should step-parents abandon step-children of the previous coupling because they have DNA of a person not in the current union.

I shall be ashamed to go though the church door now.

I note that the C of E spokesperson in the Commons has been a lifelong politician and merely replicates the Churches words like a parrot.

Posted by Graham Cox at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 10:38am GMT

"The Bishop on the Today programme did not fare well against Lisa Jardine."
How true! His performance was embarrassing. I'd like to know how he got into this position.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 12:45pm GMT

Thanks to Stevie Gamble. I was not suggesting that efficacy, safety and ethics are in any sense mutually exclusive. 'Should we?' is the bottom line question. However, the evidence is that efficacy and safety have been exhaustively studied based on current knowledge. The church seems not to have contributed further (at least publically) to the debate since its submission in ? 2012. It seems to have been wrong footed on the Government's timing and is now trying to back track. How idiotic to have a bishop as a key member of the body studying this (good) and then make an announcement without apparently first consulting him (bad). How embarrassing for the Bishop of Swindon to have had to say 'I was not aware this was the view of the Church of England.' HFEC have been highly professional and convincing. How different from the Church of England. Time to review the communications machinery and call all relevant people to account.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 10:41pm GMT
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