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Jade Quirke
Jade Quirke
Family Solicitor
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MEDICAL TREATMENT: Quintavelle v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority [2005] UKHL 28
Date:28 APR 2005

(28 April 2005; Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe and Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood; House of Lords) [2005] 2 FLR 349, [2005] The Times April 29

A couple whose young son had been born with a life-threatening genetic blood disorder wished to conceive a child free of the disease, but also wished the child to be of a tissue type to match that of their son, so that stem cells from blood taken from the umbilical cord of the baby could be used to try to cure the son. The HFEA granted a licence to permit tests to be carried out as part of the couple's IVF treatment, screening for genetic defects in the embryo and identifying whether the embryo had the same tissue type as the son. Both screening of embryos to produce a child free from genetic defects, and tissue typing of embryos to produce a child with stem cells matching a sick or dying sibling, could lawfully be authorised by the HFEA as activities to determine the suitability of the embryo for implantation. The HFEA was right to decide that the Act authorised it to licence treatment for the purpose of tissue typing.