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Overview of regulatory issues

Watch Juliet Tizzard on the history of PGD in the UK and the regulatory criteria that form the basis of PGD.

Over the last 25 years, PGD has come a long way. From being able to test for only a few condition, PGD can now be used to test for over 400 hereditary conditions.

The criteria that are used for whether or not a conduction can be screened for include whether the child will grow up to have a debilitating condition, and whether the condition can be helped with current medicine.

Although the pace of change has been slow, over the years there has been an expansion of what constitutes a serious condition, and testing for risk genes like BRCA mutations that increase a person’s risk of cancer, is now licensed in the UK.

One reason why the pace of change has been slow might be because, in the case of PGD, IVF is required. This involves removing eggs from the woman’s ovary, fertilising the egg with sperm in a laboratory dish and implantation, which is both costly and invasive.

Yet, with the introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing, this might be about to change. Now, it would be possible to test the growing fetus for a number of genetic abnormalities early in pregnancy

For your discussion: What do you think the arrival of prenatal testing using cell-free DNA (like NIPT) will be on the uptake for screening? Do you think we are on the cusp of a searching in genetic profiling in early pregnancy?

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Making Babies in the 21st Century

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