In Reproductive Medicine we are comfortable in offering our IVF patients Preimplantatation Genetic Testing (PGD) and Screening (PGS) to prevent the transmission of genetic diseases and reduce miscarriages. Many of us in the field are concerned that there is also a slippery slope, and that advances in genomics may make it too easy to cross that line. Researchers in China are now trying to use these new tools to help couples select smarter babies. To many of us in the west this sounds like Brave New World, the novel by Aldous Huxley, but in China this idea is not so controversial. If their project is ultimately successful, it should raise enormous ethical concerns for all of us, and more importantly is the potential that our patients will insist on access to this technology regardless our ethical concerns.
Since its start on the fringes of medicine, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has resulted in an estimated 5 million births worldwide as announced at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and International Federation of Fertility Societies this week. The biggest reason for the sudden explosion in IVF babies increased demand in developing countries such as China who now have access to modern medical care including fertility treatment. There are now more children born through IVF than the population of some countries. That’s pretty remarkable for something that 35 years ago was not readily accepted by society. Click here for more from the article in USA Today.