A Case of Embryonic Testing Ethics

The rise of genetic testing of embryos raises ethical concerns.

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A great follow up from

A great follow up from previous articles on this space. Let us not forget what dis-ease means, what onset requires, how medical advances might offer cure or symptom control in due course and, at the end of the day, that RISK is NOT DISEASE.

The ethical 'grey area' and such influence on decisions is precisely the context of the FDA halt to 23andMe. As I routinely ask my personalised medicine students, certain genotypes increase predisposition to skin cancer; given scientific evidence on global warming, does that mean we have a duty to eliminate blondes from the gene pool?

At an even larger level, the impact of eugenics (for this is what it is) to human biodiversity is quite interesting to consider.

Right now in the USA it is

Right now in the USA it is legal to terminate a pregnancy for any reason at all, just "I don't want to have this baby now" is legally sufficient grounds.

The argument in favor of testing is that it means that some babies will be born rather than no babies to some couples. The argument against it is that people will use it to eliminate babies that don't seem "perfect" enough, and yes, people will mix up risks and actual disease or defect, and yes, human diversity will necessarily suffer. Maybe once we can fix truly pathogenic genes we won't have to think about diseaae prevention being the equivalent of selective prenatal euthanasia. I have to agree that a eugenic revival as the technology now makes it more accurate and more practical has a serious downside.

Let's not lose sight that

Let's not lose sight that this woman's family has a devastating, fatal disease that hits fairly early in life. This is not eugenics, in my opinion, but simply a desire to spare a life of this horrible fate.