It is now possible to have human embryos produced via in vitro (test tube) fertilization (IVF) tested for many different genetic diseases such as Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, a form of Alzheimer’s disease, and BRCA1 associated cancers among others. Those embryos that have the gene for any of these diseases will be discarded and only those embryos lacking the disease-causing genes will be used for implantation into the potential mother. The technique used to do this is called “pre-implantation genetic diagnosis” (PIGD). It is also possible for sperm/egg donor banks to carry out a fertilization event on paper before it is done in vitro.
This way, prospective parents can reduce the risk of having a child with some genetic disorder. There are also other genetic changes that might be done with PIGD techniques including the choice of embryos with specific gene combinations for eye color, height, hair color and others. Many traits will likely not lend themselves to modification because they are too complex.
Finally, the potential exists for modification of an embryo with a genetic disorder that would replace the ‘bad’ copy of the gene with ‘good’ copies.
Respond to Others: Read the postings of your classmates and comment on at least one other student’s response. Justify any comments you make with factual information.Discussion Board Grading Rubric:
1. Original posting: (7 points)
2. Reply to peer discussion posts: (3 points)
Please Respond to this Student:
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure used to help a woman become pregnant. The process actually sounds quite simple. Sperm is collected to fertilize an egg and that egg is then implanted in the uterus. There is more to it though, first, the patient would also have to take medication that helps mature the eggs for fertilization and those eggs are taken out of the body and placed together with sperm. Some couples may use IVF because they have a hard time conceiving, or if the eggs that they carry have possibilities of having genetic disorders such as down syndrome and others. PGD is used prior to implantation to genetic defects within the embryo. PGD is for couples that usually are at risk for passing genetic disorders or defects to their offspring. IVF and PGD go against somethings that people believe in pertaining to religious beliefs mostly.
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