The head of the Centres for Assisted Reproduction at the Park Hospital in Nottingham has accused the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) of excessive caution, over its likely refusal to grant him a license to carry out trials of a new embryo screening technique. Dr Simon Fishel told the Guardian newspaper that the HFEA was either 'deficient or inept' in being able to decide on new technology.
The technique involves examining the chromosomes (bundles of genetic material) of IVF embryos before implanting them into the womb. Dr Fishel says that pregnancy rates could be improved by ten per cent and miscarriages reduced, by screening embryos before putting them back. Although the HFEA has yet to make a decision on his application, Dr Fishel was told last month that a working party would advise against it. HFEA spokesman James Yeandel said that the technique was still seen as quite experimental, and there were concerns over possible misdiagnosis. 'We are here to make sure science does not move ahead faster than the public wants' he said.