An Irish fertility clinic is set to become the first in the country to offer genetic screening and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for serious conditions.
A new clinic in Dublin, established by the Beacon Medical Group in partnership with UK-based Care Fertility, plans to offer PGD to identify serious inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis or haemophilia, although approval will be required from the Irish Medicines Board (IMB).
The clinic also intends to offer other forms of genetic analysis such as chromosome screening, which can help identify the healthiest egg cells and embryos for implantation, increasing success rates for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Care Fertility Managing Director Professor Simon Fishel said that the techniques were intended to maximise the chances of healthy pregnancies and babies, and that they were “focused on developing the best outcomes for our patients”.
Comment: Anti-abortion campaigners in Ireland have reportedly condemned the technologies as violating human rights by treating lives as disposable commodities. However, the process of IVF routinely involves the selection of what seem to be the healthiest embryos produced in vitro for transfer into the mother, as these have the best chance of successful implantation and growth. The use of superior technological screening to achieve the same aim is not obviously any different.