• Question: Do you agree with abortion and IVF?

    Asked by 07thomsonc to Hywel, Keith on 25 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Keith Brain

      Keith Brain answered on 25 Jun 2010:

      These questions are mainly moral ones, rather than scientific ones, but scientists can provide bits of information that can help people make their own decision.

      I don’t agree with 24-week abortion, which is currently permitted in UK, despite the evidence from some UK scientists (announced today!) that babies at 24 weeks of age can’t fully process pain in their brains because the neurons (nerve cells) they need aren’t connected at 24 weeks. I do think that early abortion might be reasonable where there is a threat to the mother’s life or if the baby has very severe genetic problem that mean that it will suffer a painful death if born. I think that it is reasonable to prevent suffering.

      I do support IVF, because it allows people to have children when it would otherwise be impossible, but I don’t agree with genetic manipulation of human embryos to make “designer babies” – this isn’t done, and isn’t legal, but some people are pushing for it.