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TalkScience@BL: Genetic testing in assisted reproduction: Selecting, not perfecting?

IVF babies make up around 2% of all UK births. In the last 20 years pre-implantation genetic testing has allowed prospective parents to test IVF embryos for a range of serious genetic conditions.

New developments now mean we can test whether an unborn child would make a suitable bone marrow donor for a sick sibling, or determine if the embryo would be susceptible to late onset diseases such as Huntington’s disease or breast cancer. These technologies have the potential to revolutionise the field of reproductive medicine, but just how far should we go in the quest for a ‘perfect’ baby?

In this TalkScience event we investigate the potential future directions for assisted reproduction and some of the ethical issues they might raise:

  • How do we decide what conditions should be tested for?
  • How accurate are the current testing methods anyway?
  • Will designer babies ever become a reality?
  • Where do we draw the line and who should draw it?

With chair Dr Tom Shakespeare (University of East Anglia), with speakers: Dr Joyce Harper (UCL Centre for Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis), Nick Meade (Genetic Alliance UK), Professor Rosamund Scott (King’s College London) and Dr Alan Thornhill (Guys and St Thomas’ Assisted Conception Unit)

MP3 file, 48 mins 48 secs, 19.54 MB