Thursday, July 06, 2006

To test or not to test...that is the question!

When/If you are having a baby, would you want to perform PIGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis)? Would you do it only to test for genetic diseases or also to select for certain traits? Share your thoughts.

15 comments:

Pam said...

I'm not sure. I think I would use it for health reasons.

Evan said...

i think that it would be okay to test for your children but only to get results to see about genetic diseases and not for certain traits. u should not be able to choose the characteristics but let fate do that for you. if u were to use this to potentially save their lives then it would be okay. u shouldn't be able to play God.

-Brett (not Evan even though i used his account)

Scotty Dog said...

It all really depends. Of course, there would have to be regulations put in place. If there weren't regulations, then too much could go wrong. Some countries, like China, would run out of girls. So, not only will you have a male, testosterone-charged country... you will also have a country that cannot reproduce anymore.

But, of course, for genetic diseases... its a given. It is part of human nature to fix what is wrong with the world, and to try to help all those in need of it. If humans did not have this trait, we would have died out long, long ago.

However, cosmetic or even other traits are a completely differant matter. Should we really mess with people's genetics to try to get some change that will not save them (excluding the fact that bieng stronger and faster people might actually save people's lives). Should humans be allowed to take that risk. More than that, we are not messing with our DNA, we are messing with the DNA of people who are not even born yet.

Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. For PIGD, I think its all right. We're only picking out of a couple choices. Its not as if we could take a person and add traits like invisibility or anything... as of yet. But, that discussion can wait for another day.

Evan said...

If I were having a kid and knew that there was a chance that a genetic disease could become present I would want to take action to prevent the disease using PIGD, but I would not use this technique to decide on certain traits of the child. I feel that I wouldn't want to choose all of that traits and would rather leave it random, but if others would want to they should have the choice. We are preventing genetic diseases to give our children a better life, but the same could be said about appearances. They can make it easier to become successful or just to fit in with society. So why not let them choose their traits?

Harlan said...

My belief is that PIGD (Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis)should only be used to detect and cure genetic diseases because it isn't/shouldn't be the parent(s) choice what their child looks like, I figure if the child can't choose the parents don't get to either.
What if something went wrong and the parents wanted their child to have brown eyes but the doctors messed up and gave the child blue eyes. The parents would have spent a fortune for something that didn't work and they might always look at that child in the way that "I spent so much money on you and it didn't even work".
I do believe however though that PIGD should be used to cure genetic diseases that would cause pain and suffering in the child otherwise because no one should have to live with such pain.

sherylmay said...

If I was having a baby, I think that the only reason I would be using PIGD is to check for genetic diseases. That way you are certain that your child won't have to suffer to a disease that they are likely to be passed on. In the long run, you could be adding years onto their lives. On the other hand, I don't feel it's right for someone to pick one embryo over the other based on what color of eyes/hair/their height/metabolism the baby could possibly have. Who's to say that the parents can decide what the child should have. Whats wrong with certain traits anyways? To go through that entire process, simply to change a couple physical characteristics is just plain wrong. It's like Damien said in class, ignorance is bliss. Shouldn't you be happy enough knowing you have a healthy child? I guess for some nothing is ever good enough.

Damian said...

I'll stay with my 'ignorance is bliss' idea and say that I would not use PIGD at all. Although I don't think that it is a bad idea, I would like my children to be completely mine (and my wife's), not something selected by a scientist. I mean, people have lived with this diseases for hundreds of years, so I'm sure I could find a way to overcome it.

Vanessa said...

If I was having a baby with genetic defects or diseases then I would want to perform PIGD. If this process would save the baby's life then I would pay the money to perform the process. I think that there is a line between performing PIGD to test for genetic diseases and using it to select certian traits. If everyone used this process to select certian traits then the whole world would look so similar. No one would be unique and eventually everyones views of what looked good would be the same which would turn into a world full of identical twins and all of those twins would look the same as everyother set of twins. People should be happy with what their kids look like rather than changing them to what the parents view as looking good. What if the kid grows up and doesn't agree with the parents view.

Scotty Dog said...

"I mean, people have lived with this diseases for hundreds of years, so I'm sure I could find a way to overcome it."

You realize that PIGD is a way of overcoming the diseases. Isn't it better to cure the disease before the kid even knows it exists, or it can badly affect them... for that matter, isn't it better that the kid would never have the disease to begin with?

Damian said...

Scott, I agree that PIGD would help, but what I said was that it is not necessary. If people have survived having deadly diseases up to now, why should we be more special than that? I would not spend a cent on something if I dont have to. I mean, I have a friend that can't walk and is about 1/3 my size because of a genetic disease, and it doesn't make her any less of a person. And like Grace said, life and death are part of the human lifecycle, so if it's meant to happen, I will not stop it.

Pam said...

(I'm not so tired now so i'll write more)
Many Christians would says that we’re messing with God’s work when we start making changes to things that he has already created (PIGD), and I can understand where these people are coming from. I’m a Christian, but my view on processes like PIGD are a little different. I’ve got this kind of theory that if someone comes up with an idea (PIGD), and is able to successfully reach their goal of creating something or a process or what ever, God aloud that person to have that idea. I believe that everything we have is from God, so therefore God gave the person(s) the idea of PIGD. I also believes that God gives us all of your ideas, skills, and gifts to help one another and better the state of man kind. So should PIGD be used for creating healthy children, I’m going to have to say yes I think it should (and not for stupid traits like eye and hair colour).

Mr. Kuropatwa said...

Hi,

I'm a friend of Mr. C's. You'll see my name listed with yours in the contributors list for the biotrek blog. I'm also a teacher and I found your comments on this post captivating.

Scotty Dog, you echoed my thoughts exactly.

Many of you have commented that PIGD should only be used for preventing disease. Your writing also has an underlying message of "let's not mess with mother nature." After all, we've come this far without things like PIGD, we'll continue to get by without it.

Two thoughts:

(1) "We've come this far ..."

Yes we have. We discovered that mold on bread (penicillin) can cure many diseases and it's now accepted as a standard (natural?) medical treatment.

The ancients chewed willow bark when they were in pain. They said it made the pain go away. We've distilled that into acetylsalicylic acid (ASA); commercially known as aspirin. That's natural too; we've just refined the process to make it more effective.

Throughout human history we have evolved our technology to improve our lives and give ourselves greater choice about how we will live those lives. Isn't PIGD technology just another step in that evolution? And if it is, shouldn't we use it to further expand the variety of "choice" we have in our lives? Is it possible that some day this technology will be so common place (like penicillin) that we'll see it as "natural?" Imagine yourself in such a future world. Do you think people will still be debating whether or not we should choose the eye colour of our children?

(2) "let's not mess with mother nature."

Hmmm ... aren't we, as a species, part of "nature?" Didn't we evolve naturally in our environment and learn to make tools out of the materials we found in the world around us?

Monkeys use sticks to get ants out of their holes to eat them. They adapt things in their environment and use them as tools (the stick). I think we'd all agree that's natural behaviour for a monkey. Well, as a species we've also adapted things in our environment to use as tools, like the computer you're sitting in front of. The thing is though, maybe we're too smart for our own good. Maybe we've begun to make tools we're not yet mature enough to use. Things like nuclear bombs and PIGD.

What do you think? Are questions of using PIGD technology really questions about our maturity as a species?

Damian said...

Well, I really agree with every single thing you said just now, but for some reason, if it came to my child, I would like it to be done the way it has been done for... well, ever.
I guess I'm just a bit old school in that sense...

Lexus said...

So we all have tried to answer Dr. Coodin's question. It is a really hard question to my understanding because I am asking what exactly is a "genetic disease" I mean I know what it is but to other Canadian citizens...

A genetic disease could mean a wide range of things. That's why I think we have a problem. When we are allowed to perform PIGD, it is basically allowing us to test our foetus for all "genetic diseases" now a genetic disease is different to anyone, there could be a person who says the gene coding for the pigment enzyme for blue eyes is a disease to them. This is why we can't say that testing is allowed on only "genetic diseases" and not "genetic traits". Sure to most people you would think that any severe genetic disease is a disorder that causes death at an early age. To some people it could be different. Yes people are determined to get the perfect "tall,intelligent hockey player" as a child but if we were to allow PIGD then it does need to be controlled. It can't just simply be yes for testing on diseases and no for testing on traits. We can't really differentiate them because there will be that someone that will argue, unfortunatly they wouldn't be wrong either. I mean I don't agree with blue eyes being a disease but anyone could say that and try and fight it against the government.
My grade 12 biology class was arguing the same thing and we were forced to make a top ten list of the worst genetic diseases. Sure no one had blue eyes as one of their top ten but if we can make our own list then why can't everyone else. I mean if the government made up a list of the top ten diseases we are allowed to test for then how would they ever come to a final top ten list. Everything would just be outrageous especially in a democratic country.

I myself agree with Mr. Kuropatwa. He stated that we have evolved technology to help improve so isn't PIGD the same thing? He also said that we have already come so far so why just stop. I do agree with him because at this point we did so much research in genetics and we know so much but we also have to much potential to get a lot further and be able to evolve so many things. I think if the government did come to a conclusion on how to seperate genetic diseases to traits then performing PIGD should be controlled.

I thought about how it could be controlled and I think they should only let testing if the family has a prescription. I mean like what if they checked the genome background on the incestors and if they have a certain percentage for passing on a genetic disease then why not hand out precriptions for testing or performing PIGD on the foetus because the genetic disorder is severe enough and life threatening for the child.
Do you think that could work? This could be just like going to see the doctor for antibiotics!

XLiquidIceX said...

In my opinion, I would only use this technology to test for genetic diseases. I would not use it to select traits because traits are what makes everyone different.