Only 10 per cent of public back vote on new IVF regulations

2nd Feb 2015 - James Mildred

PRESS RELEASE - New polling figures have highlighted the unpopularity of the Government’s determination to push ahead with asking MPs to vote on controversial new IVF regulations.

In an exclusive ComRes poll for leading public affairs charity CARE, it was revealed that only 10 per cent of the public think the Government are right to push controversial new IVF regulations through parliament without waiting for the conclusion of all the pre-clinical safety tests that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority advised the Government should take place before proceeding.

Meanwhile more than half (66 per cent) of those asked thought the Government are wrong to push ahead with asking MPs to vote.

The figures also show more than twice as many members of the public are opposed to a change in the law than those who support it, with 41 per cent opposed and only 20 per cent in favour.

 CARE’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs Dr Dan Boucher said:

“From the outset we have been arguing that the regulations should not be put to the Parliament until all of the advised pre-clinical safety tests have been concluded.

“The Department of Health has not listened and these figures clearly reveal the majority of people think they are wrong to try to push the regulations through without waiting for the conclusion of the preclinical safety tests.

“The figures also show that, setting the questions of the safety tests to one side, more than twice as many people are against the proposals than are in favour.

“Not for one minute would we deny that mitochondrial diseases are terrible to deal with.

“But MPs must consider the dangers of rushing these regulations through when we simply do not know the true consequences of doing so.

“The reality is we don’t know all there is to know about how this technique will affect the child and females created using this new technique would have to be monitored, as the HFEA has recommended, for the rest of their lives as such any of their children.”

“More and more evidence also seems to indicate mitochondrial DNA informs the characteristics of the child and because of this CARE is firmly of the view that the term “three parent children” is entirely accurate.”

 

Notes:

Methodology note: ComRes interviewed 2,040 British adults online between 30th January and 1st February 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

 The poll asked:

 Q1. Currently the creation of children with DNA from three parents is not permitted by British law, nor is it permitted by any other country in the World. Next week the Coalition Government will ask MPs to vote to change the law to allow this practice because they believe it may help prevent hereditary diseases being passed from one generation to another.  Others oppose a change due to the unknown impact on public safety and wider ethical concerns about the genetic modification of future generations.

To what extent would you support or oppose a change in the law to permit the creation of 3-parent children?

Support strongly

Support

Neither support nor oppose

Oppose

Oppose strongly

Don’t know

Q2. The Government asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the body which regulates human embryo research, to assess the safety of allowing scientists to create children with DNA from three parents. The HFEA recommended that before allowing the creation of such children, extensive safety experiments should be conducted.  Although the Government next week will ask MPs to vote to permit the creation of children with DNA from three parents, it is now clear that some of these safety tests recommended by the HFEA have not been completed.  What in your view should happen?

–              I think it is right for the Government to ask MPs to decide whether to allow procedures to create children with DNA from three parents without knowing the results of all the safety tests that the HFEA recommended before proceeding. The vote should happen next week.

–              I have no view about whether the Government should ask MPs to decide whether to allow procedures to create children with DNA from three parents without the knowing the results of all the safety tests that the HFEA recommended.

–              I think it is wrong for the Government to ask MPs to decide whether to allow procedures to create children with DNA from three parents, without the knowing the results of all the safety tests that the HFEA recommended. The vote should be postponed until all the recommended tests have been concluded and made available to both public and to MPs.

The poll also shows out of the mainstream parties the Lib Dems are the only party with more supporters (35 per cent) supportive of the regulations than those against (33 per cent). 

For more information contact CARE’s media officer James Mildred on 0207 227 4731

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