In a move that will probably cause a bit of an ethical stir, doctors have screened a UK woman’s embryos and removed an inherited gene that would have left the baby with a 50 to 85 per cent chance of developing the cancer.
Because her husband had tested positive for the gene and his sister, mother, grandmother and cousin have all had the cancer, the woman decided to have her embryos screened after she got pregnant.
The unidentified mom-to-be, told the Sunday Times: “For the past three generations, every single woman in my husband’s family has had breast cancer, as early as 27 and 29. “We felt that, if there was a possibility of eliminating this for our children, then that was a route we had to go down.”
The couple produced 11 embryos, of which five were found to be free from the gene. Two of these were implanted in the woman’s womb and she is now 14 weeks pregnant.
By screening out embryos carrying the gene, called BRCA-1, the couple, will eliminate the hereditary disease from their lineage.
Tests on the 11 embryos were conducted by removing one cell when they were three days old. Six of the embryos carried the breast cancer gene. Two embryos that were free of the gene were then implanted, resulting in a single pregnancy.
The couple have also been able to freeze two healthy embryos for future use.
I think this was done responsibly. I hope this couple gets a healthy baby and that their future children are free of breast cancer. SOURCE