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Avoiding Passing Them On

Individuals who know they have certain disease-linked genetic variants are turning to in vitro fertilization to avoid passing those variants on to their children, the Washington Post writes.

For instance, the Post notes that Greg McGuire, who was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy as a child, and his sister, who is a carrier for the X-linked condition, have both opted for IVF for their families so that their children do not develop the condition. "I don't know why more people don't embrace these technologies," McGuire tells it.

The Post adds, though, that IVF and pre-implantation genetic testing haven't been without controversy, as some have argued against using them to select for embryos, whether it be for embryos without certain traits or embryos of a certain sex. Others, it notes, have embraced the technology and are beginning to use it for conditions that develop in adulthood, including Alzheimer's disease.

"The world has changed," Joe Leigh Simpson from Florida International University, who is also the clinical director at Reproductive Genetics Innovations, tells the Post. "Many more couples are turning to IVF and PGT to select an embryo for implantation so they are not faced with having a child develop clinical signs of a disease decades or longer down the line."