Bioethics, healthcare policy, and related issues.
Doctors tested embryos created by the woman and her “partner” using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) methods for the cancer gene. Only unaffected embryos were implanted in her womb, the newspaper said. But it is not reported how many babies the so call “doctors” killed in the screening proucess.
It will surprise no one, I’m sure, that this makes not the slightest sense.
For the benefit of those not versed in modern biotech, especially the “so call ‘pro-life’” community generally, it should be explained that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is performed on DNA extracted from just one or a few cells of an IVF embryo while it is still in the lab, at about the 100+-cell stage of development. The embryo at that point can lose a few cells without affecting its future growth. That tiny sample of DNA is exponentially multiplied by a chemical procedure (“polymerase chain reaction”) – the same procedure forensic labs use to profile DNA samples from saliva swabs or similarly limited sources. It is then tested for the genetic markers in question.
No embryo is destroyed by the PIGD procedure. (We’ll skip over the question whether any “babies” are.) A second’s thought should make it obvious that no embryo could be destroyed by it, since that would make it impossible to implant the healthy embryos after they had been identified. The whole point to the test is that it doesn’t harm the embryo. But having an actual phenomenon to complain about has never been a pre-requisite for right-wing complaining. (Cf. “abortion/breast cancer” and “post-abortion trauma syndrome”.)
It is true that the procedure allows patients the opportunity to choose which embryos, carrying which genetic markers, are then transferred to the woman’s uterus. Those not making the cut will not be transferred, and will most likely be destroyed at some point. But that would be true of most of the embryos involved in any event – most women undergoing IVF leave unused embryos behind. The PIGD procedure has no net effect on how many embryos are implanted – only on which ones
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