The Ethics of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis: An Opinion Piece Examining the Moral Distinction Between Positive and Negative Selection of Traits Using PGD

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Title: The Ethics of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis: An Opinion Piece Examining the Moral Distinction Between Positive and Negative Selection of Traits Using PGD
Authors: Bleeker, Helena
Date: 2013-01
Abstract: Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) follows in vitro fertilization (IVF) of several ova. Negative selection (NS), or the discarding of embryos containing undesirable alleles, is currently being performed in IVF clinics. Conversely, positive selection (PS) is the discarding of embryos that do not contain a desirable allele. In other words, PS keeps an embryo because it contains a desirable genetic profile. There are many groups that support NS but there are far fewer who support PS. The bioconservative philosophy, led by philosophers such as Leon Kass, opposes PS and bioliberalism in general. Conversely, NS (and PS) of embryos resonates best of all with the bioliberalism philosophy. More specifically, a subset of bioliberalism, called transhumanism. In order to find NS morally permissible and PS morally unacceptable, one must support one’s position by making a moral distinction between the two types of selection.The major claims against PS include that it is not medically serious, that it propagates eugenics, that it propagates sex selection and that it elicits a moral repugnance which proves its immorality. In analyzing these arguments, I hope to show that none of them are consistent in their application, and that their inability to be applied universally significantly weakens their case.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34391
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18192/riss-ijhs.v3i1.1451
CollectionRevue interdisciplinaire des sciences de la santé // Interdisciplinary Journal of Health Sciences
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