Designer baby row over US clinic
From BBC website:
“This is the inevitable slippery slope of a fertility process which results in many more embryos being created than can be implanted.” Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics
A US clinic has sparked controversy by offering would-be parents the chance to select traits like the eye and hair colour of their offspring.
The LA Fertility Institutes run by Dr Jeff Steinberg, a pioneer of IVF in the 1970s, expects a trait-selected baby to be born next year.
His clinic also offers sex selection.
UK fertility experts are angered that the service will distract attention from how the same technology can protect against inherited disease.
The science is based on a lab technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.
This involves testing a cell taken from a very early embryo before it is put into the mother’s womb.
Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes – or in this case an embryo with the desired physical traits such as blonde hair and blue eyes – to continue the pregnancy, and discard any others.
Dr Steinberg said couples might seek to use the clinic’s services for both medical and cosmetic reasons.
For example, a couple might want to have a baby with a darker complexion to help guard against a skin cancer if they already had a child who had developed a melanoma. But others might just want a boy with blonde hair.
His clinic is offering this cosmetic selection to patients already having genetic screening for abnormal chromosome conditions in their embryos.
“Not all patients will qualify for these tests and we make NO guarantees as to ‘perfect prediction’ of things such as eye colour or hair colour,” says the clinic’s website.
Dr Steinberg said: “I would not say this is a dangerous road. It’s an uncharted road.”
Rest of article here.