Although genetic testing of embryos has been done for years, the growing popularity of the process has raised ethical questions. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in conjunction with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) provides a method for identifying embryos with genetic diseases. Ethicists question if people should be able to decide which embryos survive and are implanted. Additionally, ethicists question which diseases should be eligible for identification via PGD. Understanding both sides of the argument may help you make the right decision for your family.
The Science of Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
PGD begins with an IVF cycle, where eggs are harvested then fertilized in vitro with sperm. As those embryos develop, a single cell is removed for testing purposes. The removed cell can then be carefully evaluated to determine if it is affected by genetic diseases. When genetic diseases are found, those embryos are discarded. Only healthy embryos are transferred to the woman's uterus or frozen for future transfers. The process of retrieving and analyzing a cell does not harm the embryo.
Ethical Questions About PGD
There are a number of ethical questions regarding the use of PGD to become pregnant.
- Is it right to choose healthy embryos and discard those with a genetic disease?
- Is discarding embryos with genetic diseases the same as terminating a pregnancy?
- Should genetic testing be done for all genetic diseases, including those that do not present themselves until adulthood?
The goal of PGD is to select the embryos that are healthiest and have the best chance of survival. Many genetic diseases result in a significantly reduced quality of life or will result in miscarriage. By selecting healthy embryos, fertility centers are able to give couples the best chance at having healthy children.
Each couple should discuss PGD and how it can be used as a part of their fertility care plan. The process may be an easy choice for couples who have a history of genetic disease. For others, genetic testing may never need to be considered. There is no right or wrong decision, just the decision that works best for your family.
Preeminent PGD Testing Provider
Learn more about PGD and its benefits during IVF by contacting the fertility experts at New Hope Fertility Center. Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 917.525.5496 to schedule a consultation.