Tarry for the Nonce

August 12, 2005

Death is the Perfect Prevention

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:22 pm

Couples will soon be able to screen their babies for cancer risk:

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced yesterday that it is to consult the public about letting couples choose embryos free from genetic defects. The defects raise the risk of cancer but do not always trigger it.

If the response is favourable, the authority is expected to start approving applications to use the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) technique early next year. It may even do so before the consultation is over if urgent licence requests are received.

I understand that cancer can make life miserable, but how many of those who suffer would wish that they never lived at all?



  1. I don’t think the intent here is to screen normal pregnancies for potential cancer patients but pregnancies done artificially. Such pregnancies often involve several fertilized eggs so the majority of them are marked for death anyway (either that or you make the news for having 9 babies in one shot). If the idea is go screen the zygotes for potential disease and pick the most fit one, this is just another test in a battery of tests.

    I’m sure you could use this to test regular old natural pregnancies but I don’t think that’s not in the scope of this article.

    In the context of picking the embryo with the best chance at a healthy life, cancer screening is a good addition. Note however that this isn’t a comment on the morality of IVF or using this in natural pregnancies. I’m not some fan of eugenics.

    Comment by Mark — August 12, 2005 @ 3:50 pm

  2. Who would WANT the perfect child? Where’s the fun in that? The kid never has the slightest of problems and then the child gets the God complex…and it can only go down from there. Have none of the “doctors” (or quack, for the need of a better term) seen those really cheese sci-fi movies with the perfect people deciding the rest of the world need not exist?

    Comment by Alistair A. — August 13, 2005 @ 5:21 pm

  3. Oh come now. Kids will find a way to make fun of other kids. Its just the order of the universe.

    Not that I’m advocating designer children; however, If everyone were perfect, someone would rise above the rest and find a way to begin subjugating the others to traumatic childhood experiences so that they would never really feel like they were completely whole without lots of counseling. This, in essence, prevents most people from getting a GOD complex. The knowledge that at some time in their childhood they either got the snot beat out of them, they experienced some sort of school hazing ritual involving a toilet, or were publicly embarassed/harassed by either their siblings or a nemesis of sorts.

    Comment by Andrew P. — August 15, 2005 @ 10:50 am

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