Evening Standard 21 May 08
Fathers were last night effectively declared an irrelevance in modern Britain. The requirement for fertility doctors to consider a child’s need for a male role model before giving women IVF treatment was scrapped by MPs. In a free vote, they swept away the rule despite impassioned pleas that the Government plan would “drive another nail into the coffin of the traditional family”. Labour rebels said it would send entirely the wrong signal to society as Britain faces a crisis in responsible parenting.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, had warned it would remove the father from the heart of the family. He accused the Government of putting the interests of “consumers” who want to become parents before the welfare of children. But in the Commons, ministers won support for the legislation.
MPs reject need for father in IVF (UK)
BBC News 20 May 2008
MPs have voted to scrap laws forcing clinics to consider the need for a “father and mother” before allowing women to seek IVF treatment. Iain Duncan Smith led the cross-party bid, saying the absence of a father had a “detrimental effect” on a child. His plan was defeated by 292 votes to 217. Currently, IVF clinics have to consider the “welfare” of any child created, including the need for a father. But the government wants the focus instead on “supportive parenting”. MPs also opposed a further bid to ensure there is a “father or a male role model” before fertility treatment, by 290 votes to 222. The issue of the role of fathers in IVF comes in the second day of committee stage debate of the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, aimed at updating laws from 1990.
…On Monday, MPs voted down a cross-party attempt to ban hybrid human animal embryos. Roman Catholic cabinet ministers Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy voted for a ban, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron both opposed it. A bid to ban “saviour siblings” – babies selected to provide genetic material for seriously ill relatives -was also voted down.