After embryos were screened for cystic fibrosis
Freddie and Thomas Greenstreet have become Britain’s first ‘designer’ twins after undergoing a controversial screening process whilst they were still embryos.
Their parents, Catherine and Jim Greenstreet of Chiswick both carry genes that made it highly likely their children would be born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited condition from which their daughter suffers.
They took the decision to go ahead with the screening of their fertilized embryos, created using IVF, because they did not want to repeat the experience of caring for a seriously ill child.
After the pioneering treatment at Guys Hospital, the healthy embryos were implanted producing two healthy baby boys who are now two weeks old.
Catherine Greenstreet, 38, defended her decision to screen her embryos, saying "Unless you have lived with a child that has a terrible disability or disease then you can't speak about it. Who can criticise you for trying to get rid of horrible diseases? Why would you want to see people suffer? When you have got these lovely healthy babies in your arms it dampens all the pain we went through. They are designer babies but they are designed for the good of mankind."
However, their critics argue that disabled babies can have a good quality of life and screening for any reason is the start of a slippery slope towards parents choosing eye colour or characteristics.
Their five year old daughter Lizzie has cystic fibrosis, which causes severe respiratory problems and limits life expectancy although her twin brother William has not got the disease.
November 14, 2006