'Hybrid embryos' are a hope for my son, says David Cameron

David Cameron said yesterday he hoped treatments for his disabled son Ivan could be developed from research on hybrid human/animal embryos.

The Tory leader praised Monday night’s landmark vote by MPs to back the work, despite warnings from critics that it left Britain isolated in the western world.

Catholic Church leaders have branded the use of hybrid embryos "monstrous" and say tinkering with the essence of life in such a way is immoral.

Scroll down for more


Hope: Tory leader David Cameron says the Embryo Bill gives him hope of a treatment for his disabled son Ivan, now six, pictured here as a baby

But scientists say hybrid embryos could provide a plentiful new source of stem cells - basic building block cells with the potential to develop into any tissue - for medical research.

An amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which would have outlawed the creation of hybrid embryos, was defeated by 336 to 176 on Monday, a majority of 160.

Mr Cameron told GMTV: "I have a son with epilepsy and cerebral palsy and when I look at how he suffers and if we can do anything to stop him suffering and other children suffering, should we not try?

"We should not stand in the way of the advance of medical science. We want to try and crack those diseases, the epilepsies, the cerebral palsies, the motor neurone diseases."

He said a long list of medical charities had been calling for the research to be allowed, and added: "It’s not some Frankenstein monster we are creating, it’s about taking an egg from a cow and injecting a bit of human DNA and keeping it for only 14 days."

Mr Cameron accepted that people who regarded all life as sacred and believed it began at the moment of conception would oppose the research.
Gordon Brown, whose younger son has cystic fibrosis, also supports hybrid embryo research.

Alastair Kent, director of the Genetics Interest Group, said: "This vote will give great pleasure to hundreds of thousands of patients and their families who have seen the promise this research holds."

But Labour MP Ian Lucas, of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said the time allowed for the Commons debate had been offensively short and vowed to fight on through the Bill’s remaining stages.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now