Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sex Selection to Combat Autism

Eleven cousins in California have had their stomachs removed, and now a team of doctors at the University College Hospital in Britain will apply for a license to screen out autistic embryos, according to the Times Online. Both are possible thanks to genetic testing.

As boys are four times more likely to be born with autism than girls, couples with a family history of the condition want to ensure they have only girls. Such sex selection is not at present permitted.

The technique, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), has been used to create babies free from life-threatening illnesses such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and haemophilia.

However, screening embryos to prevent babies being born with autism would prove controversial because children born with the disorder can live long and healthy lives. Critics claim the treatment would be a step closer to creating babies free from all imperfections.

The couple would have to go through in vitro fertilization. A specialist would choose only female embryos for implantation into the mother's uterus.

While sex selection is illegal in many countries, it's legal in the United States and can cost up to $20,000.

Wow, sounds a little to much like Gattica.

Source: Wired


wotsitgonnabe said...

"Such sex selection is not at present permitted."

Boy, am I glad that it's not permitted at the moment, although I think if you had the right amount of $$$ and knowledge you may be able to find out anyhow. :(

I would never want to give my Aimee back, or any of my children for that matter - no matter how hard life is with/for the autistic it IS A LIFE. Who are we to question the validity of that life?

melissa said...

I'm with you Dione; how could anyone want to create a world where people like Aimee never had a chance to grace us with the intersection of their lives with our own?

Your three girls are such beautiful gifts. I feel blessed to know them and have them in my life, even in a small way.

My life is better & richer, our coummunities life is better & richer, for Briana's infectious smile, Aimme's artless love for everyone, and Hope's passionate pursuit of justice.

I am a better person, a better imitator of Christ, for the way in which the lives of your girls have intersected with mine. For that I am extremely grateful, and would never want it any other way.

Melva said...

One of the scary things is, where would such screening stop? If we can tell by genetics that someone has Down Syndrome, William's Syndrome, Coffin-Lowry Syndrome, a disposition to arthritis...will the foetus be removed. WHat happens at birth if a child is born prematurely and has a higher chance of developmental delay, or goes without oxygen and then has Cerebral Palsy? WHat on earth is 'normal' or ok anyway? The worst types of disability in my opinion are the ones we can't see and rarely acknowledge (e.g. prejudices, impatience etc.).