PGD and Embryo Selection

Report from an International Conference on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Embryo Selection

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The prenatal screening technologies are there and will be refined and used. However, prospective parents should be given a broad picture, including information from families with similarly impaired children and from disabled adults, and then be supported in their own choice. Different parents will then make different choices. Dóra S. Bjarnason, in ”Is life worth living if you have a disability?” ”The best way to have talented children is still to choose a talented spouse. Parents usually only wish that their children are healthy. And if they are not, they accept them anyway.” Outi Hovatta, in ”The new reproductive biology medical and technical possibilities vs. ethical and legal concerns” ”In the future, stem cell lines may be created from an HLA-identical embryo as identified by PGD. This would be an alternative for parents with a sick child without taking any risks associated with the creative of a potential donor child, and it may work much faster and thus increase the chance of benefit to the sick child” Gisela Dahlquist, in ”The child’s perspective and the parents’ who should decide?” ”There seems to be a common perception about which foetal or embryo condition could justify selection. The regulation will point at severe disorders, however, without indicating specifically which disorders could be considered sufficiently severe.” Mette Hartlev, in ”Legislation and regulations in the Nordic countries. Is there a Nordic dimension?” ”Personally I hold the view that well-founded doubt about the rightness of our moral deliberations, practices and visions is always better than unjustified confidence and conviction, even when we strive to decipher the moral status of unborn babies and supernumerary fertilised eggs. Consequently, I feel it is justified to remain in doubt about the exact nature of their moral status.” Jan Helge Solbakk, in ”On the moral status of unborn babies and supernumerary fertilised eggs” ”In developing countries, particularly in an Islamic context where there is a high premium placed on couples having at least one male offspring, the availability of pgd for non-medical reasons does have a positive effect.” Zaid Kilani, in ”Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis for Elective Sex Selection: Individual Needs in Developing Countries, Financial, Social, Cultural and Religious Aspects”



The ethics of PGD-regulation

The development of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has received a lot of attention since its commencement at the beginning of the 1990s, not only in the fields of reproductive medicine but also among lawyers, philosophers and politicians. Parliamentary committees and ethics committees specially assigned for dealing with issues related to PGD have assumed the task of balancing the interests and values believed to be at stake. (1, 2) In this article I will concentrate on the interests by different policy-making groups to regulate the practice of PGD. I will discuss some of the ethical arguments that have been used in the debate and by regulators, but I will not do this in a systematic way. There are already good and fairly comprehensive overviews concerning the ethics of PGD available elsewhere. (5, 6, 7) The focus in this paper is on the ethics of PGD-regulation.


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