Article Reviews

Preimplantation diagnosis Essay

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“Where are we going with preimplantation genetic diagnosis” Summary In the article “Where are we going with preimplantation genetic diagnosis?”, Timothy Krahn outlines the future implications of a ruling made by the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), and the effect it may have on Canadian’s normative culture. Krahn begins by introducing the Assisted Human reproduction act, which received royal assent on 29th March 2009. Structured and influenced largely on the regulations of the HFEA, decisions made in the UK are naturally transferred and integrated into Canada’s policy. The ruling made by the HFEA was to licence preimplantation genetic diagnosis for hereditary breast, ovarian, and non-polyposis colorectal cancer. This is different from earlier licensing by the HFEA due to a combination of 3 factors. Having a later age of onset, a lower chance to develop the disorders, and being potentially treatable, Krahn suggests this has lowered their previous criteria regarding the risk of an inherited genetic condition affecting you. He then lays out the possible underlying beliefs as to why parents choose this for their children. Firstly, in Parents having fewer children, it would only be in the best interest of your child to be given the most successful genetic prospects.

Next, if the health care and social services were unable to fully accommodate treating serious genetic conditions, it would only be common sense for this generation to utilize the advancements in preventing them. Lastly, rather then this being detrimental to people who seek the testing, the real moral danger lies within enhancing discrimination against genetic impairments. Krahn mentions that as these testing become more accessible to the public, parents’ views of their embryo’s could develop into somewhat of a consumer product. This in itself would raise the normative standard, while shrinking the range we consider healthy. Continued efforts towards prevention in pursuit of human perfection could very well develop a culture of intolerance. Labeling conditions with terms like “serious” reduces the already narrow gaze in what validates something as test worthy. The decision made by the HFEA has placed us on clouded path that could very well make us loose sight of, or further discriminate the genetically disadvantaged. It is only reasonable to question the motives and direction we are headed, while considering what we may sacrifice in return.

Krahn, Timothy. “Where are we going with preimplantation genetic diagnosis?” The Active Reader. Second Edition 2012: 451-453. Print.