I attended a work related Breast Cancer seminar last night.
The keynote speaker was a prominent Radiologist from the Boston area.
She told a story of a patient that froze 8 fertilized embryos prior to undergoing her treatment for breast cancer. This particular patient tested positive for the breast cancer gene. Approximately two years post treatment, this particular patient got the ok to implant the embryos. Prior to implantation, the patient was able to have the embryos tested for the breast cancer gene. The testing revealed that 4 out of 8 embryos tested positive for the gene. The patient then opted to only implant the 4 that did NOT test positive for the gene which resulted in one baby boy being born that did not carry this gene.
The breast cancer gene does not automatically mean that someone will develop breast cancer, however, the chance is very high - about 80%. In addition to that fact, not all woman that have the gene will get breast cancer and not all women that develop cancer will succumb to the awful disease.
As I sat in the audience, I began to ponder. I thought to myself, "Is it ethically sound to 'cherry pick' when it comes to reproduction? Would I make the same choices as this patient to only implant embryos that did not carry the gene? Do the embryos that carried the breast cancer gene deserve to not be implanted because they MIGHT lead to a POTENTIALLY fatal disease MAYBE? Is it ethical to play God by picking and choosing what traits and genes are desirable? Choosing what traits and genes are undesirable?"
Where do we draw the line?