PGD – "Can.cer Free Baby"

9 01 2009
So I got up this morning and I am taking my usual spin through the local and national news and came across this article:

The basics are that they used pgd on an embryo to make sure that the embryo did not carry the cancer gene for breast or ovarian cancer.  Carrying this gene does not mean one will definitely get either form of cancer, but there is a greater likelihood (50-80%) that a person would get either form of cancer.

So for us IVFrs out there, I know there is a process that we all have to go through – regardless of our beliefs – in order to go through the process.  So it is sort of like picking a jury for a death penalty case – you have to believe in the death penalty in order to even sit on the jury.  I digress…so I know for me and many of you, we have to decide what happens to frozen embryos – now that was a conversation I had with Mr. M when I thought we would produce enough embryos for freezing – hasn’t happened.  

So what about PGD and other forms of testing embryos?  I will not hide my cards – I believe in testing in certain circumstances.  But where would I draw the line?  I was/am shocked, horrified, dismayed to think of disposing of an otherwise perfectly fine embryo just because it carried the cancer gene.  My grandmother had breast cancer – hey, I may even be a carrier.  One of my best friend’s wife is a breast cancer survivor.  I only say this because I am not totally ignorant when it comes to the disease. I could go on and on and on and on.

It is such a slippery slope…what say you?



4 responses

9 01 2009

Interesting blog post. Bioethics regarding biotechnology is something we discuss in my H.S. biology class and it’s always interesting! Have you ever seen GATTACA? It’s a movie with Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law and it brings up extremes related to this issue. I personally wouldn’t use such testing and screening to decide to discard embryos, especially if we’re talking about genes the only predispose. However, if I knew for sure that an embryo had a genetic disease like Tay-Sach’s, which is painful, devastating and fatal, I wouldn’t transfer those embryos. Of course this is a very personal decision and what’s right for some isn’t right for others!

9 01 2009

I agree with you Lisa.

We got thrown into the IVF arena without much choice in the matter. DH and I then got thrown into the PGD arena without much choice either. Well, the choice was to either test the embryos, or risk transferring embryos that may have an unbalanced translocation. In our case, the translocation COULD result in miscarriage, or could continue into a live birth of a child with severe developmental challenges.

It is a difficult decision, but one we went ahead with, because bringing a challenged child into the world is not only difficult for the parents. I would hate to be responsible to give the child such a difficult life. And what happens when we’re gone?

We chose to do PGD, but we are testing only for the translocation. We have always told the doctors we don’t want to test other stuff.

I don’t know if I’m rambling or if I’m making sense or what, but that’s my $.02 on it.

9 01 2009

Interesting topic…
I seriously don’t know. If it only predisposes, maybe I wouldn’t discard. There’s so much to give us cancer now. A friend of mine says she is concerned about having good health care for when she has her cancer. Her opinion is that everyone of us will get our cancer someday, no way escaping it. i don’t agree with her, but it’s something to think about. How much cancer will be a part of most human life in these coming years. And surviving it too.

9 01 2009

Slippery slope it definitely is…!
We haven’t done any testing on the embies yet, but are thinking abt it for IVF#3. My biggest fear is that all these hormones, ICSI, lab solution, and on and on might cause more harm to the embie that good! And like Nikki said, I would hate to bring a developmentally challenged child into the world for MY satisfaction of becoming a mom. But, you are right, there is a line. Right now, my line is using PGD or other testing methods to determine the sex of the baby. That is such a no no to me. But thats just me.

Interesting post BTW… got me thinking. 🙂

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