Charles Mein, Scientist at the Genome Centre

PGD is a very sensitive subject. In order to explore some of the issues further we asked some experts to share their opinions with us.

Should there be limitations to which genes can be selected for during PGD?

“Yes, there should be clear evidence that the gene tested causes a severe genetic disease.”

Might the use of PGD facilitate social selection widening the gap in looks, intelligence and ability between the rich and the poor?

“Currently social selection for looks, intelligence and ability cannot be achieved by PGD – there are no genes known that have an effect on these characters. As our understanding in these areas increases in the future there might be a possibility for this to occur but it is likely to be under tight ethical and legal controls.”

If embryos with certain diseases are discarded, how do you think this makes people living with the disease feel?

“It is likely that some people living with a disease for which embryos are discarded following PGD will feel less valued. This should be actively addressed by offering a program of counselling to the individuals concerned.”