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.
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.
Damewood MD. Ethical Implications of a New Application of Preimplantation Diagnosis. JAMA. 2001;285(24):3143-3144. doi:10.1001/jama.285.24.3143