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Baby Born After Genetic Screening of Eggs

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  • Baby Born After Genetic Screening of Eggs

    Thursday July 8, 2004 1:46 PM


    SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - A woman has given birth to what her doctor calls central New York's first genetically selected baby after her fertilized eggs were screened in a lab for a hereditary disease.

    The healthy baby girl, Taylor Michaels, was born in early June after embryos created in a lab from the mother's eggs and father's sperm were tested for cystic fibrosis a deadly genetic disease that causes respiratory infections, breathing difficulty and permanent lung damage.

    Dr. Robert Kiltz, director of the CNY Fertility Center in Syracuse, said they used pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, to screen the embryos, a procedure that has been available for about five years at fertility clinics in big U.S. cities.

    The parents, Mary and Mike Michaels, are both cystic fibrosis carriers. Although they don't have the disease, there is a 25 percent chance their offspring will. The Michaels found they were carriers when their 4-year-old daughter, Tess, was born with cystic fibrosis, Mary Michaels said.

    ``That's why we went through with this,'' she said. ``Children with CF have to get daily treatments morning and night to lengthen their lives and keep them healthy.''

    PGD tests embryos created through in-vitro fertilization for genetic diseases before they are transferred back into the mother's uterus. It can be used to check for other genetically determined diseases such as sickle cell anemia and Huntington disease, and chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome.

    Many of these conditions can be diagnosed during pregnancy using tests like amniocentesis, withdrawing fluid from the sac surrounding the fetus. That can leave couples with the difficult decision of whether to abort the fetus.

    Because PGD is done before the woman becomes pregnant, it eliminates the question of abortion. The procedure is controversial because some people believe it's wrong to weed out genetically defective embryos, and it can be used to select a child based on gender.

    ``There's a little bit of an ethical dilemma on whether we should be offering it routinely for sex selection,'' Kiltz said. The PGD screening costs about $3,500, he said.

    The American Society of Reproductive Medicine initially opposed the use of PGD for gender determination, but overturned its position in 2001. Its ethics committee said doctors should be free to offer sex selection to couples as long as the couples are informed of the risk of failure and agree to accept children of the opposite sex if gender selection doesn't work.
    \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

    \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

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    MJR CONTACT ME:


    [email protected]

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