Embryo selection is not yet Godless
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Last summer flew the coalition parties together in the hairs on the issue of embryo selection. The quarrel was calmed by the decision of a committee to set up should address the question under which embryo selection may take place. And then it was quiet. In early February were finally Chamber made. When asked why the committee is not even composed of State Bussemaker said that "there is no major matter is urgent because it is not expected in the short term, to review new diseases are" notified ". Disconcerting.
The Secretary of State for Health, Welfare and Sport is in a difficult position in a cabinet with two Christian parties, it is not easy to talk about life and issues such as embryo selection struggling non-Christians. But precisely why is it so important to the discussion to cover in a time where decisions need not be.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) test embryos for the presence of genetic traits associated with a variety of diseases and characteristics. If an embryo after in vitro fertilization consists of eight cells, one of those eight cells are removed and used for the test. PGD is held before embryos are placed in the uterus and can be used to select embryos.
In the Netherlands, embryo selection is allowed only in diseases such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia: severe, fatal disease in which the opportunity for fully established as an embryo, a genetic property. The quarrel in the Cabinet was to allow embryo selection in familial breast cancer. This is a serious disease that can only be avoided by all young women both breasts off. Only the presence of the genetic characteristic that is associated with familial breast cancer leads "only" eight out of ten times of sickness and also only in later life.
Personally appears the possibility of embryo selection myself in place, but it exceeds a limit, that's for sure. What do we do if the predictive value of a genetic characteristic of getting a serious disease is fifty percent, or ten? Or if the disease is not life threatening, such as color blindness, is that 'really' enough? And if it does not include a disease, but for boys and girls, we are completely independent of God?
Eventually there will be two levels of choices made. The politics, the limits within which embryo selection is allowed, then it is a personal choice of each set with a child to decide whether or not to use the possibilities within those limits. An important condition for making a deliberate decision by both, is good information.
Setting up a committee which had to address the question under which embryo selection should take place was a wonderful initiative. Joint had scientists, doctors, ethicist and the people who enter the personal responsibility of all sides can highlight to a better understanding. They can exchange information with countries where the debate is already under way as England, and can learn from the experience in countries where embryo selection is allowed for more diseases as in the United States.
But no. It embryo has not yet been compiled and does not have a clear job description. Bussemaker prefer to wait 'a new register for clinical review. So just in an emergency debate with rising high emotions not need to be substantive discussions on this matter of life and death.