Scotsman.com News - Latest News - IVF Embryos to Be Screened for Genetic Cancers
"She said the licence only applied to people carrying familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) which is an inherited genetic colon condition.
If passed on, it could lead to the development of rectal or colon cancer in early teens.
The HFEA spokeswoman said the chance of passing on the genetic form of cancer from parent to child was 50% and that there was a 'strong chance' the disease could develop later in life."
At first glance this would seem positive, though it may be a slippery slope. If society can decrease the occurrence of rectal and colon cancer it seems like a medical advance. Yet we would not be decreasing the likelihood of these diseases occurring, we would actually be decreasing the number human beings with the greatest potential of developing this disease from surviving to birth. Those that have the greatest risk of developing this type of cancer will simply not have the opportunity to exist. What will we do when we are able to identify the genetic signs of other undesirable traits? Will we destroy the embryos that are more likely to have vision defects? Those of us who do not have 20/20 vision may have no place in this type of future because they may never be allowed to be born. Many claim that homosexuality is genetic; if the genes which would make a child turn out to be gay could be identified before birth then what will stop a parent from choosing to destroy that life before it starts? Even progressive parents may think twice about letting a gay baby come to term rather than waiting for a straight one, most people that have kids would like to have grandkids someday as well. What about dyslexia? ADHD? Manic depression? Addictive tendencies? This sort of technology and medical ethic could lower the rate of cancer in humankind, improve the average vision of a population, and produce offspring that more closely meet the parents social expectations. How many of us would be allowed to be born in to such a world and how many of us would be denied the opportunity to exist? Such a future gives me pause.