View Full Version : Watchdog approves embryo selection to help prevent cancer - UK

05-11-2006, 04:34 AM
The government's fertility watchdog has allowed an extension of a controversial embryo selection technique which would help women with a family history of breast cancer to have healthy children.
But campaigners on the ethics of reproductive technology have denounced the move to extend preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) as another step towards allowing "designer babies". Scientists argue that by eliminating embryos at high risk of developing the disease they can prevent suffering.

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said the decision to extend testing for breast, ovarian and bowel cancers had been taken because of "the aggressive nature of the cancers, the impact of treatment and the extreme anxiety that carriers of the gene can experience".

She denied it was part of a slippery slope towards genetic testing for trivial genetic characteristics. "This is not about opening the door to wholesale genetic testing," she said. "This is about considering a particular group of genetic conditions to be sufficiently serious to merit the use of PGD embryo testing."

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