Meet the Expert

Ethical insights about genetic screening in reproduction

Guido Pennings (BE)

[Pennings] Ghent University

Genetic screening will boom in the near future because of new technological developments in genetics. This evolution, however, also holds many ethical risks. The main problem is that the current ethical framework no longer works when whole genome sequencing is applied. The rules within the field of preimplantation genetic diagnosis were designed for genetic testing of single diseases. The following rules will be discussed: PGD should only be performed for serious disease, one should not replace an affected embryo, and the final decision about the fate of the embryo should be taken by the patient. The new developments create new possibilities of conflict between patient and professional. Two final problems will also be tackled: the possibility of informed consent and the right not to know of the future child. This talk will look at the different possibilities to solve these problems within the context of reproduction.