Embryo Selection

Topics: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Genetics, In vitro fertilisation Pages: 3 (943 words) Published: June 22, 2011
Social Relevance of Embryo Selection
Embryo selection otherwise known as Designer babies raises a number of social, legal and ethical implications. Embryo selection is when the genetic characteristics of an embryo are determined in the early stages of development. This makes it possible to determine whether a fetus is male or female. Embryo selection has also been used before implantation in the womb to enabled thousands of parents to avoid passing on serious genetic diseases to their offspring. It can also be used so that parents can select a tissue type before implantation to be the same as a sibling, who is critically ill and is relying on possible implants or blood transfusions from the designer baby. Ethical issues are tried to be avoided by limiting the number of embryos implanted and prohibits sex selection for nonmedical reasons. The selection of traits is perceived to be desirable but is would eventually end up to diminish variability within the gene pool, the raw material of natural selection.

Embryo selection can reduce the chances of a baby being born with several serious genetic diseases like Down’s Syndrome & cystic fibrosis. Embryo selection for gender can eliminate gender specific genetic diseases that may run in the family like breast cancer and haemophilia. Scientists can also produce a savior sibling, a child who is born to provide an organ/ cell/ cord blood to a sibling that is affected with a fatal or debilitating disease. The savior sibling is conceived through in vitro fertilization. Fertilized zygotes are tested for genetic compatibility (human leucocyte antigen (HLA) typing), using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and only zygotes that are compatible with the existing child are implanted. Zygotes are also tested to make sure they are free of the original genetic disease. A revolutionary technique called 'pre-implantation process' is used to screen embryos for any genetic disease and only the disease free embryos are...
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