05 July 2010
ByAppeared in BioNews 566
Author: Ailsa Stevens
Publisher: Gatton Institute, Occasional Papers, Third Series, No. 1, May 2008
This guide is invaluable for anyone who has an interest in PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), particularly those who do not have a scientific background and are interested in the regulatory and ethical issues associated with this technology.
It clearly outlines the different PGD techniques, the science behind them, and issues associated with using the technology like the underlying purpose behind embryo testing procedures, the safety of these procedures, and whether there are any alternatives. Information is presented in an easy-to-follow format for the non-scientific reader and the guide also provides an interesting outline of key historical developments in the field.
The author also concisely addresses regulations relevant to PGD practices. Undoubtedly, PGD techniques have sparked significant debate and have been met with criticism over the past two decades. In some other texts, the complex and detailed ethical arguments surrounding the use of the technology often prove difficult to follow. But the author of this guide clearly summarises the more controversial uses of the technology. Issues such as sex selection and the creation of saviour siblings are addressed, and the main objections raised when the technology is used for these purposes are identified - the use of case studies enhances this approach.
This guide is a very good guide for anyone generally interested in this topic, but is particularly useful for those wanting to better understand the science behind PGD. It is also suitable for anyone interested in learning about some of the social and ethical issues that arise from the technology's use and the text provides suggestions for further reading should the reader wish to pursue the topic in further detail.
A Guide to Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis is available for free to attendees at events organised by the Progress Educational Trust (PET), and is also is available for free to Friends of PET.