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WSJ: Family planning? Couples Select Embryos Free of a Genetic Mutation

This is sure to stir up controversy… Your child has a 50-50 chance of getting the gene for YOUR disorder.  if it were my baby, I think I would do the same ito avoid passing on a gene for a life-threatening disease or cancer…  What do YOU think?

WSJ:  Family With a Risk of Cancer Tries to Change Its Destiny

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis has long been available during IVF, or in vitro fertilization, to eliminate the risk of passing on severe disorders such as spinal muscular atrophy and cystic fibrosis. Now, fertility clinics say they are seeing a small but increasing number of women choosing PGD to avoid giving birth to children who carry mutations in the BRCA genes, which increase the risk for breast and other cancers.

“It’s on the rise because more people are becoming aware that there’s a genetic component to breast cancer,” says Mark Hughes, founder of Genesis Genetics, in Plymouth, Mich., which offers reproductive-genetics-diagnosis services to fertility clinics nationwide.

Critics fear genetically vetting embryos can be used to create so-called designer babies. Embryos with the gene mutation may be discarded, which some critics also oppose. Gender selection is one form of embryo-testing that stirs ethical questions. Some clinics will agree to select for a specific sex only for health reasons—to avoid a disease such as hemophilia, for example, which typically is passed only to boys. Opponents of PGD for breast cancer also say that having a BRCA-gene mutation doesn’t mean a person will necessarily get the disease and that there are options for detecting and treating the cancer.

A parent with a mutation on the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes has a 50-50 chance of transmitting it to the next generation. Between 45% and 65% of women with the mutations are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer by age 70, according to the National Cancer Institute. That compares with about 12% of women in the general population.

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