Couple Uses IVF to Prevent Passing Breast Cancer Gene

Filed under: In The News

baby girl feetI think that most of us, if asked, would say we'd do nearly anything to ensure that our children are healthy. But when "anything" involves genetic screening and selection of embryos, thing get a little controversial.

A woman in Britain will soon give birth to the country's first baby screened to be free of a breast cancer gene. Her husband is a carrier of the gene, which has plagued the women in his family for generations. Not only do the women in his family develop breast cancer, it's an aggressive type that hits while they're young.

The couple chose to go through IVF, transferring only embryos that did not carry the gene. But not everyone agrees with their choices. Though this type of genetic screening has been used before in cases of incurable diseases, it's not typically used for conditions like this one, that may or may not develop.


On the one hand, I realize that we don't want to make the rules too loose on how people can create babies. On the other, consider what this couple has done. Not only have they potentially eliminated this gene in their own children, they've protected future generations as well. This is definitely an issue that has more than a few gray areas.

If you were in this couple's position, would you consider IVF to protect your child's risk? Or do you think that doing so is "playing God?"

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.