The furore over “designer babies” has re-ignited in the UK with the birth of a tissue-matched baby to a couple banned from using the technique by UK authorities.

Baby James Whitaker was born in Sheffield on Monday, and is 98 per cent likely to provide a tissue-match for his seriously ill brother Charlie.

Parents Michelle and Jayson Whitaker travelled to the US in 2002 to conceive a baby with the same immune system genes as four-year-old Charlie, who suffers from a rare disorder called Diamond Blackfan anaemia.

The Whitakers were refused permission to create a matched baby by the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in August 2002. The procedure would be “unlawful and unethical”, said the HFEA, because it involved some risk to the embryo but the only benefit would be to Charlie.

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