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Gene selective abortion?

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Is this the next 'immorality' argument? Which is more immoral.. choosing to have a child you KNOW doesnt carry certain genes for diseases that will end their life prematurely or cause undue pain..... or NOT screening for those diseases prior to conception of an ovum when its otherwise possible?

Will this be how the rich will make pregnacy 'illegal' to all but the weathy who can afford such screening , because hey its a financial choice just like quitting smoking or eating the wrong kinds of foods and letting yourself get 'fat' (due to being unable to buy the expensive wholesome foods) .. in the instance of smoking.. you spend 30.00 a week on quit smoking meds if you have it or you keep on smoking.. after all thats a moralities question not a 'can we afford' it question to many.

It will be interesting to see if this is taken to an extreem or woven into laws as so many other things have been and are currently being by the rich companies that develop the technologies. I wonder this because when it was discovered that Downs syndrome was diagnosable by tappin the uterine fluids, I recall being offered the proceedure with my second child but being told I would have to sign a consent form stating I would comply with having an abortion if the child was diagnosed as having downs. This has since changed.. but needless to say , like many parents I refused to have the test run because of that requirement.

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The first baby in the UK tested before conception for a genetic form of breast cancer has been born.

Doctors at University College London said the girl and her mother were doing well following the birth this week.

The embryo was screened for the altered BRCA1 gene, which would have meant the girl had a 80% chance of developing breast cancer.

Women in three generations of her husband's family have been diagnosed with the disease in their 20s.

Paul Serhal, the fertility expert who treated the couple, said: "This little girl will not face the spectre of developing this genetic form of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in her adult life.

"The parents will have been spared the risk of inflicting this disease on their daughter.

"The lasting legacy is the eradication of the transmission of this form of cancer that has blighted these families for generations."

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) involves taking a cell from an embryo at the eight-cell stage of development, when it is around three-days old, and testing it.

This is before conception - defined as when the embryo is implanted in the womb.

Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes to continue the pregnancy, and discard any whose genetic profile points to future problems.

Using PGD to ensure a baby does not carry an altered gene which would guarantee a baby would inherit a disease such as cystic fibrosis, is well-established.

But in 2006, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said doctors could test for so-called susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1.

Everybody carries a version of these genes - in fact a properly functioning BRCA1 protein helps stop cancer before it starts - but some particular variations of the genes greatly increase the risk of cancer.

Increased chance

Carrying the key BRCA1 mutation in this family's case would have given the increased chance of breast cancer and 50% chance of ovarian cancer later in life.

However, carrying the gene does not make cancer inevitable, and there is also a chance the disease could be cured, if caught early enough.

This is nothing personal towards the girl, but I think we have gone too far

Josephine Quintavalle
Comment on Reproductive Ethics
The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, wanted to eradicate the gene flaw from their family.

The husband's grandmother, mother, sister and a cousin have been diagnosed with the disease.

If the 27-year-old woman and her husband had had a son, he could have been a carrier and passed it on to any daughters.

Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: "This is nothing personal towards the girl, but I think we have gone too far.

"Underlying all this is eugenics."

Mrs Quintavalle said the message was that "you are better off dead, than being born with this gene".

"I hope 20 years down the line we will have eradicated breast cancer - not eradicated the carriers.

"This testing procedure is being used more and more for less and less significant reasons."

But Kath McLachlan, of Breast Cancer Care, said those with the faulty BRCA1 gene would be very interested in the development.

"There are many complex issues to take into account before undertaking PGD, and the decision will finally come down to an individual's personal ethics."

And Professor Peter Braude, director of the Centre for PGD at Guy's Hospital in London, said: "The decision as to whether PGD is appropriate for a couple will be made after a thorough discussion with knowledgeable genetic counsellors and clinical geneticists.

"It will not be suitable for everyone who has experience of breast cancer in their family, nor where the chances of the IVF needed for PGD has a low chance of succeeding."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7819651. stm
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replied January 13th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
It makes sense. It is one way to ensure we start to eradicate lethal genes. Unfortunately it will available only to those with the $$$ for it.
Poor and middle class people will be stuck. As usual.
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replied January 13th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
I don't think it is a bad thing because if everyone could afford we would all be perfect and we know perfect doesn't exist.

It almost makes me think of Galatica and I guess that would be the reason why I dont agree with it, now people will be judged based on their DNA instead.

Too many pros and cons as well as unknowns I say just see where it goes and what happens.

what do you think Jincks?
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replied January 13th, 2009
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Jincks013 wrote:
Unfortunately it will available only to those with the $$$ for it.
Only for the time being. As technology pushes ahead the cost will come down. This happens in all areas of technology. The rich always have to pave the way at first. The main thing is that peoples live are being improved by the testing.
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replied January 13th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
Newest one they are suggesting they will be able to test for is autism -- not so much genetic, apparently, as related to very high levels of testosterone in the womb.
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replied January 13th, 2009
Experienced User
They have also linked autism to low levels of vitamin D3.
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replied January 14th, 2009
Community Volunteer
It is a good idea as long as it only goes for medical issues. Where I would draw the line is a "designer baby", picking the color of the eyes, things like that. But then again, I would never force a woman to abort a fetus just because of the genes it carries either.
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replied January 14th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
diamondsz wrote:
I don't think it is a bad thing because if everyone could afford we would all be perfect and we know perfect doesn't exist.

It almost makes me think of Galatica and I guess that would be the reason why I dont agree with it, now people will be judged based on their DNA instead.

Too many pros and cons as well as unknowns I say just see where it goes and what happens.

what do you think Jincks?


Or this scifi world from Anne McCaffreys' "Nimisha's Ship" where the elite are all perfect beautiful people.
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