On 3 July, The Age published an article called, “Couples use IVF to pick genes” discussing how IVF has advanced to the stage where couples with some genetic diseases or susceptibilities can now screen out embryos (that is an important word there, remember that one for later) who carry the genes for those diseases or susceptibilities. I’ll let the article explain more:
FERTILE women with genes that predispose them to breast and ovarian cancers are using IVF treatment at two Melbourne clinics to select embryos without the genes.
In a new trend that has heightened ethicists’ fears of ”designer babies”, Australian IVF specialists say women are spending thousands of dollars on a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis to select embryos without the same genetic issues.
The women involved carry mutations of the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, which give them a 60-80 per cent chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime.
Those with BRCA 1 also have a 30-60 per cent chance of getting ovarian cancer while those with BRCA 2 have a 5-20 per cent chance of getting ovarian cancer.