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03 NOV 2008

Embryology Bill clears Parliament

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has been agreed by Parliament and is awaiting Royal Assent before becoming law.

The House of Lords last Wednesday voted to accept the amendments put in by the House of Commons with no additional changes.

An attempt by pro-life Peer, Lord Alton of Liverpool, to limit research using animal-human embryos to cases where it could not be carried out in any other way was rejected by 202 votes to 39.

The Bill allows the creation of embryos that are part animal and part human.

It also permits the creation of 'saviour siblings' - genetically selected children who are created so that their tissue can be used to treat a sick brother or sister.

The Bill removes a law which required doctors to consider a child's need for a father before referring a woman for IVF treatment.

During the Bill's passage through Parliament, politicians on both sides of the abortion debate tried to alter the law on abortion - but in the end the law remains unchanged.

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