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« on: Mar 02, 2009 05:25 PM »


 Huh? (What ever happened to being "healthy" as the acceptance criteria for a new born baby?)


Designer baby row over US clinic


A US clinic has sparked controversy by offering would-be parents the chance to select traits like the eye and hair colour of their offspring.

The LA Fertility Institutes run by Dr Jeff Steinberg, a pioneer of IVF in the 1970s, expects a trait-selected baby to be born next year.

His clinic also offers sex selection.

UK fertility experts are angered that the service will distract attention from how the same technology can protect against inherited disease.

The science is based on a lab technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

“ I would not say this is a dangerous road. It's an uncharted road ”
Dr Steinberg
This involves testing a cell taken from a very early embryo before it is put into the mother's womb.

Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes - or in this case an embryo with the desired physical traits such as blonde hair and blue eyes - to continue the pregnancy, and discard any others.

Dr Steinberg said couples might seek to use the clinic's services for both medical and cosmetic reasons.

For example, a couple might want to have a baby with a darker complexion to help guard against a skin cancer if they already had a child who had developed a melanoma. But others might just want a boy with blonde hair.

His clinic is offering this cosmetic selection to patients already having genetic screening for abnormal chromosome conditions in their embryos.

“ This is the inevitable slippery slope of a fertility process which results in many more embryos being created than can be implanted ”
Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics
"Not all patients will qualify for these tests and we make NO guarantees as to 'perfect prediction' of things such as eye colour or hair colour," says the clinic's website.

Dr Steinberg said: "I would not say this is a dangerous road. It's an uncharted road."

He said the capability to offer such services had been around for years, but had been ignored by the medical community.

"It's time for everyone to pull their heads out of the sand."

Slippery slope

But Dr Gillian Lockwood, a UK fertility expert and member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' ethics committee, questioned whether is was morally right to be using the science in this way.

"If it gets to the point where we can decide which gene or combination of genes are responsible for blue eyes or blonde hair, what are you going to do with all those other embryos that turn out like me to be ginger with green eyes?"

She warned against "turning babies into commodities that you buy off the shelf."

Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: "This is the inevitable slippery slope of a fertility process which results in many more embryos being created than can be implanted. Choices will always have to be made. Do you choose octuplets or the ones with the prettiest noses?"

In the UK, sex selection is banned and choices are currently permitted only in relationship to the baby's health.

Italian fertility law does not permit the creation of surplus embryos or selective testing. Ms Quintavalle said that was "one sure way to avoid the slippery slope".

Meanwhile, new legislation in the UK, due to come in on 6 April, will allow IVF mothers to name anyone as "father" on the birth certificate - even another woman.

The only restriction on naming a second parent will be if they are close blood relatives or if the second person does not agree.









Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/7918296.stm

Published: 2009/03/02 10:17:50 GMT

© BBC MMIX

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Nafs
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 02, 2009 06:51 PM »

I can't agree to such actions ...

I mean why won't people just make dolls? then they won't have to deal with having patience for taking care of the child and dealing with other things that come with parenthood ... I am sorry if this sounds harsh but I just can't seem to see the goodness in meddling with such matters.
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 02, 2009 07:34 PM »

Greed has no end

... Designer cars, homes, purses, what next ... genetically altered size 0 baby girls ? Superman infant boys - tatoos? - so they are already adults when they are born?

What's next? People want their kids to be different so they will add deformities on purpose?

At this rate we should start reciting the first and last ten verses of Sura Al-Kahf regularly pretty soon...

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« Reply #3 on: Mar 02, 2009 08:37 PM »

ws,

definitely scary... especially being able to select the gender.. i thought that was outlawed in the US? but perhaps not. i think this is great to weed out inherited diseases, it is a lifesaver for people who have issues but would love to have children that are healthy. but choosing baby's eye color and other physical traits... human beings will always abuse this. it's our nature.
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 02, 2009 08:42 PM »

Assalamo elikuim

Scarry! Why do we always misuse every new invention/technology - Sr.Jannah is right may be its in our nature Sad

I guess then people will not have to wait for baby to arrive to have his or her picture- will know exactly what their order is going to be Sad. No more suprises.


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« Reply #5 on: Mar 06, 2009 11:27 PM »

So if people can choose to have blue eyed blondes why not deaf or dwarfs?

-------------------------------

‘Designer’ babies with made-to-order defects?

Prenatal testing creates controversial options for parents with disabilities

Dec 21, 2006

The power to create “perfect” designer babies looms over the world of prenatal testing.

But what if doctors started doing the opposite?

Creating made-to-order babies with genetic defects would seem to be an ethical minefield, but to some parents with disabilities — say, deafness or dwarfism — it just means making babies like them.

And a recent survey of U.S. clinics that offer embryo screening suggests it’s already happening.

Three percent, or four clinics surveyed, said they have provided the costly, complicated procedure to help families create children with a disability.

Some doctors have denounced the practice; others question whether it’s true. Blogs are abuzz with the news, with armchair critics saying the phenomenon, if real, is taking the concept of designer babies way too far.

“Old fear: designer babies. New fear: deformer babies,” the online magazine Slate wrote, calling it “the deliberate crippling of children.”

But the survey also has led to a debate about the definition of “normal” and inspires a glimpse into deaf and dwarf cultures where many people do not consider themselves disabled.

Cara Reynolds of Collingswood, N.J., who considered embryo screening but now plans to adopt a dwarf baby, is outraged by the criticism.

“You cannot tell me that I cannot have a child who’s going to look like me,” Reynolds said. “It’s just unbelievably presumptuous and they’re playing God.”

Crossing bounds?
Embryo screening, formally called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, is done with in vitro fertilization, when eggs and sperm are mixed in a lab dish and then implanted into the womb. In PGD, before implantation, a cell from a days-old embryo is removed to allow doctors to examine it for genetic defects.

The entire procedure can cost more than $15,000 per try.

The survey asked 415 clinics to participate, 190 responded and 137 said they have provided embryo screening. The most common reason was to detect and discard embryos with abnormalities involving a missing or extra chromosome, which can result in miscarriage or severe and usually fatal birth defects.

The survey is being published in an upcoming print edition of the medical journal Fertility and Sterility. It appeared in the online edition in September. Clinics were asked many questions about PGD, including whether they’d provided it to families “seeking to select an embryo for the presence of a disability.”

“We asked the question because this is an issue that has been raised primarily by bioethicists as something that could happen,” said Susannah Baruch of Johns Hopkins University’s Genetics and Public Policy Center.

“It’s sparking a lot of conversations,” she said. “These are difficult issues for everybody.”

While it’s technologically possible, whether any deaf or dwarf babies have been born as a result of PGD is uncertain. The survey didn’t ask. Participating clinics were promised anonymity, and seven major PGD programs contacted by The Associated Press all said they had never been asked to use the procedure for that purpose.

PGD pioneer Dr. Mark Hughes, who runs a Detroit laboratory that does the screening for many fertility programs nationwide, said he hadn’t heard of the technology being used to select an abnormal embryo until the survey.

“It’s total nonsense,” Hughes said. “It couldn’t possibly be 3 percent of the clinics” doing PGD for this purpose “because we work with them all.”

He said he wouldn’t do the procedure if asked.

“To create a child with a disability because a parent wanted such a thing ... where would you draw the line?” Hughes wondered.

“It’s just unethical and inappropriate, because the purpose of medicine is to diagnose and treat and hopefully cure disease,” he said.

For the same reasons, Yury Verlinsky, another PGD pioneer and director of Chicago’s Reproductive Genetics Institute, said he also would shun those requests.

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, whose Fertility Institutes clinics in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Guadalajara, Mexico, screen embryos for sex selection, said he’d likely consult ethicists if he were ever asked to help couples select a deaf or dwarf baby.

“Clearly it crosses some bounds,” he said.

He’d get a provocative response from University of Minnesota bioethicist Jeffrey Kahn.

“It’s an ethically challenging question and certainly it will trouble people, but I think there are good, thoughtful reasons why people who are deaf or ... dwarves could say, ‘I want a child like me,”’ Kahn said.

The traits are, for some, an important part of their cultural identity.

“If people in a shared culture all have the common clinical defect, then it’s maybe not a defect in the traditional sense,” Kahn said.

More challenging would be if normal-sized parents said they wanted a dwarf child, and yet, he added, “Why is that different from dwarf parents saying, ‘We want only an average-size child?”’

'Fully functional human beings'
Dr. Jamie Grifo of New York University, a past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, has done embryo screening for more than a decade and said if it is being used to choose defective embryos, it certainly isn’t common. Cost is one thing. But IVF alone requires weeks of injections with ovary-stimulating drugs and surgery, and couples generally have a less than 50-50 chance of a baby with each IVF-PGD cycle, Grifo said.

Grifo said he wouldn’t oppose embryo screening to select a baby with a genetic defect if the parents have been informed of the pros and cons, risks and benefits.

“In our society, people are so quick to have knee-jerk reactions to something that’s none of their business,” he said.

Despite some teasing and childhood surgery to fix dwarfism-related bone deformities, Reynolds said she considers herself “very lucky. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful life.”

Their newborn daughter died last year from a devastating dwarfism-related disease called homozygous achondroplasia. Dwarf couples have a 25 percent chance of having babies afflicted with the lethal condition, the same odds of having “normal” children, but a 50 percent chance of having dwarf children.

When the couple consulted a specialist earlier this year about embryo screening to avoid a similar tragedy, they discussed implanting dwarf or non-dwarf embryos.

“A healthy dwarf embryo is a healthy embryo. It’s a kid who’s going to go to school, go to college and make friends,” Reynolds said she told the specialist, and he wasn’t opposed to the idea. But she decided against the procedure because her insurance didn’t cover it and her age — 39 — limited chances for success.

Karen Krogstad, a 25-year-old partly deaf student in Bozeman, Mont., said she understands why parents “would go to great lengths to make sure their child will be deaf.”

She and her deaf friends “see ourselves as fully functional human beings who can’t hear. People who wear glasses, are they disabled? No, but if you have hearing aids, to assist with hearing, you are labeled as disabled.”

Krogstad said she wants children someday and would be happy with a deaf or non-deaf child. But she said she wouldn’t use embryo screening to have a deaf child “because I think it is wrong to choose the perfect baby.”
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 07, 2009 12:27 AM »


Why? Isn't life difficult enough?

I never wrote this before...
My younger sister's first baby was a beautiful girl named Samaah, born in a small province in western Canada. But she was born with a heart defect, where the direction of blood was reversed - o2 rich blood went back to the lungs and not the body. Thank Allah a nurse saw that something was wrong at birth, as they we able to air ambulance her to the nearest children's hospital that had PICU and NICU wards, a hospital 6 hours and one time zone away to perform open heart surgery on a baby who was only a few hours old.  She lived 61 days longer, but ultimately died from 17 different complication from a second heart surgery performed later. My sister still calls her self umm Samaah, although she has been recently blessed by a baby boy. I know she sometimes still cries for her first child in private, even though she told Allah that he could take her back when she knew the doctors could not keep up with one complication after another and saw how much pain her daughter was in.

I don't understand why you would add burden of introducing a defect on purpose...

Your heart will not truly open until you understand Surah 21 : Verse 92  (Al-Anbiya: The Prophets)

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« Reply #7 on: Mar 07, 2009 04:14 AM »

salaam

Im sure it must have been very painful for your sister and she is still grieving because I know many woman who go through miscarriages also grieve alot.

I still dont understand how they can pick the babys eye color and all
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