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Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis

Director of the American Bioethics Advisory Commission

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) refers to the screening of human embryos for genetic defects. IVF is often used to generate such embryos in the lab.

It is critical to note that such human embryos are human persons at an early stage of development. These tiny human persons are screened for genetic defects such as sickle call anemia or cystic fibrosis. If these genetic disorders are found, these human persons are destroyed, they are “discarded.” This amounts to nothing less than abortion.

The truth of the matter is that not one of us is conceived with “perfect DNA.” Each of us contains 5-50 errors in our DNA. For most of us, however, these errors in our DNA are silent. As we age, however, some of these errors will be expressed in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

So, what is the problem with PGD? Truly, it is a form of eugenics. It allows for the destruction of innocent human persons at an early stage of development which reflects automatic injustice. It fails to show unconditional respect for all human life – especially the most vulnerable.

PGD is gravely unethical and must be rejected since it does not protect or defend human life – it destroys it.