British couples will now be legally allowed to create babies through in vitro fertilization to help cure sick siblings.
Britain's highest appeal court has rejected a challenge from an anti-abortion group and has backed a 2003 Court of Appeal ruling that some couples undergoing the fertility treatment could have their embryos screened to find tissue matches for seriously ill children. The procedure will help save desperately ill children but some fear it could lead to the creation of babies for spare parts.
The case in 2003 centered on Raj and Shahana Hashmi, who wanted to conceive a baby with the same tissue type as their 6-year-old son Zain, who suffers from a rare blood disorder.
The couple conceived twice naturally in an effort to find a tissue match for Zain, one foetus found to be carrying the same rare blood disorder as Zain was aborted and they gave birth to a second child whose tissue was not compatible with Zain's.
After the 2003 ruling, the Hashmis had fertility treatment to produce a sibling for Zain, but Shahana Hashmi had a miscarriage.
Lord Hoffman, one of five law lords who presided over the case, said the family could have been spared the ordeal and that screening to ensure a baby had the same tissue type as Zain could be authorized by Britain's reproductive watchdog, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.
Hoffman said the Hashmi family should be saved from "having to play dice with conception".
The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority welcomed Thursday's decision but Anti-abortion groups have challenged the decision saying it went "further down the slippery slope in creating human beings to provide spare parts for another."