Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a technology that helps detect genetic abnormalities in an embryo before it's implanted in the mother's womb. It's used in parents with genetic disorders who have a high risk of transmitting the abnormality to the child. It is necessary for such parents to opt for in vitro fertilization of the gametes.
Myths of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
There are several misconceptions regarding preimplantation genetic diagnosis. It is believed that this technology is used by parents who want the perfect child, one that is beautiful, healthy, intelligent and of the desired sex. There is a myth that PGD will be used by humans to influence their evolution by genetic enhancement and selective breeding. However, there are several laws in place and still more that are going to be soon implemented, that limit the scope of PGD to parents who don't want to transmit genetic abnormalities to future children or to those who have to terminate pregnancies involving children with genetic abnormalities.
The Facts about PGD
PGD technology is expensive, difficult and invasive and is not offered by health services. It's unlikely that many women will want to undergo this procedure for trivial reasons. In reality, the use of PGD technology is not aimed at lowering populations of specific races or lessening the expression of genetic characteristics, but at lowering the incidence of transmitted genetic diseases. Therefore, the use of this technology can improve the health of families and thereby populations. It would alter the gene pool minimally and would aim at alleviating the suffering that's associated with conditions that have no available cures.
Although PGD technology is legal in several countries, it is subject to strict regulations. PGD does not aim to alter human evolution nor does it reflect prejudice against disabled people, but it does allow parents with genetic disorders to decide and obtain the type of family they desire.