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Promise and perils of PGD

Watch an interview with Joyce Harper, Head of Department of Reproductive Health at UCL, about the current - and potential - applications of PGD.

Science is forever moving forward. What was new a few years ago, is today taken for granted. New targets are set, and when these are reached, a new horizon of possibilities beckons.

This is true for PGD, which after 25 years now enable us to test for over 250 genetic abnormalities. And as we have seen, we can now already test for risk genes, and select the embryo with the best genetic chances.

Professor Joyce Harper was part of the original team that developed the technology of PGD in the early 1990, and she has worked in the field of embryology and IVF for almost three decades.

Here, she highlights how rapidly the technology is evolving in this field, with possible future applications. Some of these are worrying, and the question remains: whose responsibility is it to direct the progress of the science?

For your discussion: Joyce Harper describes a potential future where genetic testing will be more prevalent and where PGD is used not only to minimise disease-burden but to create a certain kind of child (for example, a boy). Do you think this is a real worry in some parts of the world? How close are we to such a future?

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Making Babies in the 21st Century

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