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ss nucleus - summer 2009,  patients refused pre-implantation genetic tests

patients refused pre-implantation genetic tests

Couples at risk of passing on inheritable genetic diseases to their offspring are being denied funding to screen their embryos, experts have claimed.


Such individuals are eligible for IVF in order to produce embryos that can be tested for abnormalities via pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). However, such procedures may cost a total of £7000, which is not always funded by local primary care trusts.


Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust have used the recent opening of a new Assisted Conception Unit, which will run the largest preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) programme in the UK, to highlight these issues.

Alison Lashwood, consultant nurse in genetics and PGD at Guy's, gave examples of cases of couples affected by inheritable conditions who have had their applications for funding of PGD denied. Some of these cases choose not to have children, or conceive an affected foetus which was stillborn, aborted, or born with the disease.

Josephine Quintavalle, head of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, stated that since PGD ultimately involves the destruction of affected embryos it cannot be viewed as an alternative to abortion.

Each application for funding is judged on a case by case basis which can take up to a year. ( 2009; 22 April, 2009; 22 April, 2009, 23 April)

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