Summary of China’s Push for Better Babies

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China has eased up on the one child policy. Older parents are rushing to fertility clinics in the hopes of having a second. As parental age rises, so does the possibility of genetic disease, from Down’s syndrome to deafness. This is where PGD comes in. PGD has existed for 30 years, but the procedure is being perfected only now, due to aggressive research in China. getAbstract recommends this Nature article to readers with an interest in the ethics of genetic testing.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why PGD has become more common in China than it is in some Western countries,
  • How scientists in China are advancing PGD and
  • How PGD might affect Chinese society.
 

About the Author

David Cyranoski is Nature’s Asia-Pacific correspondent, based in Shanghai. He covers many topics, with a special interest in stem cells.

 

Summary

What questions does PGD raise?

More than 30 years ago researchers in the United Kingdom developed preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). It can help doctors detect genetic abnormalities before in vitro fertilization. Many religious and ethical concerns surround PGD. Are doctors and parents “playing God” when they check an embryo for genetic abnormalities? Would testing result in super human designer babies? Will the cost-prohibitive procedure widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor? Would PGD increase the stigma and reduce services for people with genetic conditions? While Western cultures grapple with these issues, people in China generally don’t. If a technology can lead to a healthier child, Chinese parents and doctors embrace it. They are also motivated to perfect PGD.


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