No. 10 - Session 2003-2004, 16 January 2004


Baroness Helena Kennedy chairs a debate to launch an online consultation into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law

Thursday 22 January 2004, 10.30 am,

Dana Centre, Wellcome Wolfson Building, 165 Queen’s Gate, London

Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of choosing a child’s sex. Is this a good reason for the state to interfere with the people’s reproductive freedom, or are there dangers to the children themselves and/or society as a whole? Is this the time to draw the line before the demand grows for so-called designer babies? This public debate, jointly organised by the Science and Technology Committee and the British Association, will tackle these complex and emotive issues. Members of the Committee, including Chairman Ian Gibson MP, will be taking part.

Guest speakers will be pro-life campaigner Josephine Quintavalle, ethicist Professor John Harris and medical geneticist Professor Marcus Pembrey.

At the end of the event, an e-consultation, featuring issues such as sex selection and many others, will go online at The Hansard Society will act as independent moderators for the online forum, which will run for six weeks. This will be  the first stage of a major inquiry by the Committee into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law.

To book your free place e-mail, visit or call 020 7019 4940.

Members of the media should contact Alun Roberts: 020 7219 2118; email

Further information on the inquiry and the work of the Committee can be obtained from Committee staff on 020 7219 2793/4, Previous press notices and publications are available on the Committee’s internet homepage

  Notes for Editors

• Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Committee is empowered to examine the "expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies". The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.

• The Hansard Society is an independent organisation established to promote effective parliamentary democracy. The Hansard Society’s Edemocracy Programme has pioneered methods of Parliamentary online discussion enabling citizens to feed their views and experiences into parliamentary discussion.

• The Committee’s Inquiry into Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law was announced on 24 October 2003, press notice no. 45, session 2002-03.