June 27, 2001

Ethical Implications of a New Application of Preimplantation Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women and Children Services, WellSpan Health, York Hospital, York, Pa; The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 2001;285(24):3143-3144. doi:10.1001/jama.285.24.3143

Several thousand known genetic mutations are associated with specific inherited human diseases, and certain single-gene defects are now amenable to preventive intervention by preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In the past, couples wishing to ensure that a genetic disease did not affect their fetus had the option of prenatal diagnosis by amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. The technology of PGD spares the couple the difficult decision of subsequent clinical abortion, because only embryos that do not have the potential to develop a genetic disease are transferred to the woman's uterus for implantation.1 However, the procedure of PGD, as well as the issue of embryo selection and discard, has generated multiple ethical questions regarding the technology and applications. In addition, reservations about PGD use and potential abuse with selecting a pregnancy with particular genetic parameters have raised important ethical concerns.

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