Thursday, May 12, 2005

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

By Mylea

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis involves genetically screening embryos and selecting the one that is to be implanted into the uterus. The book Choosing Assisted Reproduction-Social, Emotional and Ethical Considerations explains: "Soon (scientist) will be able to determine physical, intellectual, and perhaps even emotional and social characteristics in an embryo."

This technique is one that will probably be debated on for some time. Some feel this is just the break through they need to have a healthy child. Some experts tend to agree that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) should be used more for testing rather than screening purposes. It is felt that if there is a known disease in a family, or the disease has affected the family then this test would best aid this type of situation.

Conservative Christians and others feel that if left alone and under the right conditions the cell that was removed might have developed on its own, but it would have been destroyed by the testing. It is said that a defective fertilized egg if allowed to grow to maturity that results in a live birth would not necessarily develop a particular disorder or disease.

On the other hand you have those that are in support of this technique, one case is of the Nash family in Colorado, their daughter had a rare form of anemia in order to have a donor for her they chose to have another child. In order to accomplish this they used invitro-fertilization and PGD. The two procedures enabled them to insure that their second child would be disease free and provide a suitable donor for their daughter.

Some of the negative aspects of using the two procedures in trying to treat a sibling is the disease may progress so rapid that there may not be enough time for pregnancy and maturity of infant to occur. Another is the ethical question of are we producing "designer babies?" Others object to discarding of unused embryos, this by some is considered as murder.

The first PGD baby was born in 1989 and the procedure is recommended for women over the age of 35 and for couples that are at risk for passing a genetic or sex-linked genetic disease on to their offspring.

The decision to use this type of procedure is totally up to the individual, but if we choose to determine what child is deserving of life and which is not is this fair. What does this say about how we feel about those with birth defects that have already been born into society? Everyone is deserving of love, and a chance at life, are would we be somehow sending the message that if a child is not born just right, we can just toss them aside and get another one or a better one. I am sure this procedure has a place, but should just anyone be allowed to have it performed, just because.

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