UK scientists are soon to apply for a licence to screen IVF embryos for breast and bowel cancer genes so that parents will not place their children at risk of suffering from these diseases in later life. “The whole idea is to select the embryo that doesn’t have the gene so the woman can start their pregnancy knowing the baby is safe,” said Dr Paul Serhal, of University College London Hospital.
The idea was immediately savaged by Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics. “By the time these embryos have reached the age when they are at risk of breast cancer, medical science will have advanced 30 years and we may even have a cure,” she said. “What we are doing here is getting away from the concept of curing disease and towards eliminating the person with the disease.”
Dr Serhal responded that “I disagree with Mickey Mouse people saying it is meddling with nature. It is simply a selection process to try to get rid of these genetic diseases.”
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