Arguments for and against the use of pre-implantation genetic screening

Argumentsfor and against the use of pre-implantation genetic screening

Argumentsfor and Against the Use of Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening

Pre-implantationGenetic Screening is a process by which potential parents engaged inthe process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) acquire informationregarding the characteristics of an embryo. Based on the informationthey derive, a decision can be made on whether to transfer theembryos to the uterus or not. In majority cases, the embryos devoidof defects are transferred to the uterus while those with geneticdisorders have their growth terminated. However, the ethical andmoral dimensions surrounding this process have repeatedly beenquestioned. Complex questions often surface in issues relating to themorality of embryo research and termination.

Preventingthe birth of the individuals with particular diseases that areperceived to be serious presents the ethical dilemma of determiningthe complications that should be considered more detrimental. Thissubsequently leads to reinforced discrimination and stigmatizationfor those with disabilities. The idea of having a detailed list ofpre-defined conditions that are considered serious enough to allowPGD is likely to send a message that people suffering from theillnesses are less desirable. Such a condition is likely to push thesituation towards morally challenging eugenics (McLean &amp Bliston,2013).

Onthe flip side, PGD may be considered ethical under certaincircumstances. One of these is when it is used in the selection ofembryos with the potential for donating bone marrow to siblings inthe future. In such a situation, the genetically approved embryocould be considered for implantation due to the prospects, while theothers are terminated. Another rationale that is applied injustifying PGD is the fact that it is more favorable compared toprenatal genetic diagnosis (Carter, 2014). The proponents of PGDclaim that while prenatal genetic diagnosis could lead to subsequentabortion, PGD does not.

AreThere Circumstances Which Reproductive Autonomy Should Be Restricted?

Reproductivefreedom is central to the welfare of women because they bear thebiggest responsibility of bearing and rearing children. Some of thestrong factors that have been said to influence this freedom arepoverty and the beliefs that do not value autonomy. Reproductiveautonomy can be restricted when it is considered morallyunacceptable, or in circumstances where it is deemed to causepotential harm to either the offspring or the parent (Laufer-Ukeles,2011)

IsIt Desirable Or Even Possible For Genetic Counseling To BeNon-Directive?

Itis desirable for genetic counseling to be non-directive so as toencourage the parents to make a free and unbiased decision. In thiscase, the counselor’s duty should only involve availinging theirclient with all the information needed. Non-directive counseling alsoeliminates bias towards the clients’ beliefs.


Carter,C.E. (2014). Mindscapes:critical reading skills and strategies. Belmont:Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Laufer-Ukeles,P. (2011). Reproductive Choices and Informed Consent: FetalInterests, women’s identity, and relational autonomy. AmJ Law Med.37 (4): 567-623

McLean,S.A.M. &ampBliston, S. (2013). Regulatingpre-implantation genetic diagnosis: A comparative and theoreticalanalysis.New York N.Y.: Routledge