Right Problem, Wrong Solution
In August 2005, the United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority launched a public consultation, seeking views on the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis to test for genes that would definitely or possibly cause disease traits, such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. On the day that the consultation was launched, Josephine Quintavelle, Director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), argued on CORE’s web site: “We are looking at issues which go to the heart of our attitudes to disability, and the offensive message that is sent in this instance is that the disabled or sick are better off not being born.” This article aims to show that advocated of a pro-choice approach to PGD need not and should not disregard concerns about the effects of this technology on disabled people. However, the author argues that the best way of addressing such concerns may not lie in stricter regulation of reproductive technologies, and that seeking to limit the use of PGD to scenarios where there is a real risk of genetic disability may reinforce negative messages about which advocates of the “expressivist” position are justifiably concerned.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Keywords: Reproductive technologies; Fertilisation; Law and technology; Biology law; Bioethics; PGD
Research Type: Journal Article