Couples who want to select embryos to avoid the risk of their children developing some forms of genetic cancer will be able to do so, the coalition parties agreed on Tuesday.
Each case will have to be first assessed by a medical ethics board. Maastricht’s teaching hospital, the only place in the country which currently carries out embryo selection, already has such a committee.
Last month a major row erupted between the coalition parties when junior health minister Jet Bussemaker (Labour) gave the green light to a wider genetic screening programme without discussing the issue in the cabinet. The orthodox Christian party ChristenUnie was furious, forcing the plan to be withdrawn.
The Volkskrant says the new agreement means little will change in practise but that all sides can claim to have won: ChristenUnie through the involvement of medical ethics experts, and Labour because screening can now go ahead.
Ministers willl discuss the compromise at Friday’s cabinet meeting.
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