A New Jersey startup is offering parents-to-be testing to determine whether their embryos may have an increased risk of developing diseases like diabetes, hypertension, or breast cancer, the Asbury Park Press reports. But such testing, it notes, raises ethical concerns.
The startup, Genomic Prediction, got the OK from New Jersey in July to sell its pre-implantation genetic diagnostic test, which costs $400 per embryo and isn't usually covered by insurance, the APP adds. Nathan Treff, the chief science officer of the company, says it aims to help people have healthy pregnancies and children by allowing them to choose which embryo to implant. "It's giving the patients an extra tool for selection for what may be more likely to be a healthy child," he tells the APP.
The company does not, the paper adds, test for cosmetic traits, and Treff notes that "checks and balances" are needed to prevent such tools from being used improperly.
Indeed, Rutgers Law School's Kimberly Mutcherson tells the Asbury Park Press that this brings up deep ethical questions. "So, what kinds of diseases do we think are significant enough that there's a reason why a person shouldn't exist?" she asks.