November 21, 2005

Fetal & Embryonic Genetic Testing In The NYT

Two heavy articles in the NYT today on the uses of genetic testing in the earliest stages of conception and pregnancy:

  • First, a report on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, or P.G.D., in which embryos from high-risk parents (e.g., older women, women with histories of genetic disorders or pregnancy difficulties, parents with genetic propensities for debilitating/fatal conditions like Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, etc.) are tested at the 8-cell stage. Ideally, only healthy embryos are then implanted. That's the theory, anyway.

    Screening for Abnormal Embryos Offers Couples Hope After Heartbreak
    [nyt]

  • Then, the big story--to me, anyway, since it has much farther-reaching impacts: a look at what disabled people and their families and bioethicists think about genetic screening during early pregnancy. It's another angle on the Down Syndrome/abortion question, and I found it extremely thoughtful and generally balanced. It's the kind of approach I wish the Washington Post's writer would've taken a while back. And it's the kind of discussion any parents-to-be should be having as they approach pregnancy and testing decisions.

    The Problem With an Almost-Perfect Genetic World [nyt]

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