Ethical issues of preimplantation genetic diagnosis

Farnaz Shishehgar, Robab Latifnezhad



 Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a thechnic which was originally developed for couples at high risk of transmitting a genetic defect. The expanded uses of preimplantation genetic diagnosis in assisted reproduction have raised questions about their ethical acceptability. PGD evolved from IVF technology.  It is an extention of IVF treatment and cannot be undertaken separately. One set of objections arises from the need to create and then select embryos on chromosomal or genetic grounds, with deselected embryos then usually discarded.  A second set of objections arises from the fact of selection itself. The use of PGD to exclude aneuploid embryos from transfer raises few special ethical issues. Another kind of concern is that increasing the frequency and scope of genetic screaning of prospective children will move us toward a eugenic world in which children are valued more for their genotype than for their inherent charachteristics.

PGD has also been used to enable a family with a child with fanconii anemia to have another child who would serve as a source of hematopoeitic stem cells obtained from that child’s umbilical cord blood. The main ethical arguments are the instrumentalization of the child. The parent’s decision to conceive and select a certain embryo would fail to show respect for future child if their only reason for creating the child was its tissue. Conceiving a child to save another is a morally defensible decision on the condition that the child dies without transferring allergenic hematopoietic stem cells.

Another uses of PGD is to select the sex of offspring for family balancing. Some theorisians who are full supportive of using sex selection claims that this kind of sex selection poses no risk harm to anyone. On contrary, the others believed that the attention to the sex of offspring is a sort of gender preference.  

Ethically, PGD with the aim of nonmedical sex selection cannot be acceptable and causes different social consequences.


PGD; ethic; sex selection; HLA matching

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