Navigation Links
Embryo tests give parents the choice

MORE than 40 per cent of fertility clinics in the US are allowing couples to choose the sex of their child, a survey conducted by the Genetics and Public Policy Center (GPPC) in Washington DC suggests. The testing method, called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), was originally designed to test for severe or deadly diseases such as Tay-Sachs. It is typically performed by removing a cell from a three-day-old embryo, which is then screened for a range of chromosomal abnormalities or specific gene mutations. Seemingly healthy embryos are implanted in the womb; others are discarded or frozen. The survey, which covered 186 out of 415 fertility clinics in the US, found that around two-thirds of PGD procedures were performed to identify embryos at risk of birth defects or being miscarried.

However, the survey also revealed that applications of PGD have broadened to include choosing the baby's sex, as well as screening for diseases that may not strike until late in life, if at all. Non-medical sex selection accounted for 9 per cent of PGD tests conducted in the US in 2005, while 28 per cent of the clinics surveyed are now offering PGD to detect a propensity for adult-onset diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, hereditary breast cancer, and many other cancers.

PGD was originally intended to overcome infertility and to ensure that all children are born with achance of a full and flourishing life, says Eric Cohen, head of the bioethics programme at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington DC. "PGD clinics are performing sex selection just to satisfy parental preferences, and embryo screening is being used for late-onset diseases that have nothing to do with childhood sickness," Cohen claims. He sees these as troubling trends.

The changes are taking place because there is little consensus on which tests are appropriate for PGD, and no federal or professional oversight of the clinics, according to Susannah Baruch, who led the GPPCstudy . "There are more than 1000 genetic tests currently available and there is no reason why any of these couldn't be used for PDG," she says.

In the UK, PGD is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Its spokesman John-Paul Maytum says sex selection for nonmedical purposes is not permitted in the UK because the majority of the public are against it.

The GPPC survey, which was presented at the National Genetic Policy Summit in Washington DC last week, is the first to focus specifically on the uses of PGD in IVF clinics. It revealed that almost one-quarter of US clinics use PGD to select an embryo that would be an immunological match for a sick sibling. It also showed that PGD is not error-free: 21 per cent of clinics interviewed for the study knew of cases where children had been born with diseases that PGD was supposed to eliminate.

One reason for this is that all eight cells of the embryo may not be genetically identical, due to a condition called embryo mosaicism, making it possible that the cell taken for testing may not describe the whole embryo's genetic status. Exactly how many misdiagnoses have occurred is not known, but Baruch says the survey underscores the need for better data collection and regulation to ensure the safety and efficacy of the procedure.


'"/>

Source:New Scientist


Related biology news :

1. Transplantation Of Monkey Embryonic Stem Cells Reverses Parkinson Disease In Primates
2. UCSD Discovery Shows How Embryonic Stem Cells Perform Quality Control Inspections
3. Embryonic Stem Cells Treated With Growth Factor Reverse Hemophilia In Mice: UNC Researchers
4. Embryonic stem cells accrue genetic changes
5. Embryos tell story of Earths earliest animals
6. Embryos exposed in 3-D
7. Embryonic selection of sex avoids conceiving blind children
8. Embryonic stem cells do better on bumpy nanoscale mattress
9. Embryonic patterning makes the feathers fly
10. Transgenic plants remove more selenium from polluted soil than wild plants, new tests show
11. UN successfully tests green pesticide against locusts
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/14/2016)... Allemagne, March 14, 2016 ... - --> - Renvoi : image disponible ... --> --> DERMALOG, ... fournit de nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement ... DERMALOG sera utilisé pour produire des cartes d,identité ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced ... testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay Mesa border ... identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric technologies in ... until May 2016. --> the United States ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... 2016   Valencell , the leading innovator ... has secured $11M in Series D financing. The ... venture fund being launched by UAE-based financial services ... investors TDF Ventures and WSJ Joshua Fund. Valencell ... triple-digit growth and accelerate its pioneering innovation in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... April 27, 2016 NanoStruck ... (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( Frankfurt : 8NSK) ... Pressemitteilung vom 13. August 2015 die Genehmigung von ... um zusätzliche 200.000.000 Einheiten auf 400.000.000 Einheiten zu ... bringen. Davon wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten mit dem ersten ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... PathSensors, Inc., a leading environmental testing company, ... assist PathSensors in expanding the use of the company’s CANARY® technology in the ... for the detection of harmful pathogens, including a number of bacteria, viruses, toxins, ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016 MedDay, a biotechnology company ... the appointment of Catherine Moukheibir as Chairman of its Board ... Jean Jacques Garaud , who contributed to the rapid ... immediately. Catherine started her career in strategy consulting ... London .  She held C-Suite level roles ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The European Patent Office (EPO) today announced that ... for the European Inventor Award 2016 in the category "Non-European countries." The winners of ... ceremony in Lisbon on June 9th. , The human capacity to walk with fluidity ...
Breaking Biology Technology: