Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Vancouver Week Two: The Fun Continues..."


Share your thoughts on Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagostics (PIGD). Assuming that there are no boundaries as to what PIGD can detect, to what extent do you think PIGD should be permitted? Should there be laws controlling the use of PIGD?

23 comments:

Step Hen said...

well, i think it should only be used to determine diseases and disabilities that will affect the child for life, but as to other traits of a child, such as how tall, hair colour and eye colour and that sort of stuff, i think the parents should not be allowed to choose.......after all, superficial features does not define who a person is and wt he/she can do

SaMuRaI7 said...

An idea I had in order to limit PIGD was to not let parents know every detail. The government could make a law in which parents could only know a certain number of facts (e.g. 3-5) for each embryo. Like you could know 3 things about one embryo and 3 about another (while other facts are still hidden from you) and you have to make your best choice. This would be good, so that a valid/nonvalid society doesn't develop too quickly like in the movie Gattaca. In this method, nobody would be a perfect valid, but be good in certain things (though this may be similar to births naturally). But, eventually after almost all people are born like this, and it becomes more widely available to all people, then and only then could parents know every fact of their potential child. That way almost all people would be "valid" (since the technology is much cheaper and now more widely available. So in the end, instead of the class gap, all people are pretty much equal, but in the process, many human diseases are much less likely to occur in all humans. These genes would then just be passed on and on. Well, that's an idea of mine, feel free to comment on it.
Pranav

Robin said...

My general statement is that people in Canada should be allowed a choice. Obviously, it would not be as simple as this (nothing ever is!).

Just like the article we read about Huntingtons Disease, there must be some standards in place. For instance, the patients who wanted to be tested for Huntingtons had to be counselled for six weeks so they would be fully aware of the consequences, and I think tests associated with PIGD should be similar.

In the present day, when a person goes in for an elective surgery, the doctor must inform them of all the risks, and is allowed to deny them the surgery if the doctor deems them unable to handle the surgery or the results. If PIGD had no boundaries as to what was possible, I think it would be similar.

Some protest that people will use this to create the 'perfect child' or would be abort a fetus if they knew it might become sick. These too are choices that people make, and rather than prohibiting PIGD from all, I think that it would be a wiser choice to allow it, but to put up safeguards to prevent abuse.

In reality, whether or not PIGD will be positive influence on society depends on the government's responsibility in handling it, the quality of standards held by the doctors applying the testing, and the ability for the patient to consider the decision they're making. As with many things, PIGD is just a tool, with not intent for bad or good. It's just a matter of how we use the tool that defines it.

pat_ty said...

I dont think we should use it because as we can see in the movie the Gattaca. Human race would start to spread even more and the world. People will look down to those who are not as "perfect" as they could be. on the other hand to determine diseases and disabilities would be OK to use it.

Robin said...

Reply to Samurai7:

The way you phrase it makes it sound like a game; "You can only ask your crush three questions!" and I think it would cause confusion and anger. Kind of like an airport saying, "You're only allowed regular items that could act as weapons." A hammer, tweezers, and scissors? Would size matter? How sharp?

A 3-5 limit would only cause more confusion and unneccessary chaos.

sarah said...

I think that PIGD should be permitted for everyone. When PIGD is accessible for everyone, people have the chance to decide whether or not they want to go through this procedure. However, I strongly that there should be laws limiting the use of PIGD to genetic disease probability. Using PIGD just to detect traits such as eye colour or hair colour should not be permitted.

SaMuRaI7 said...

I agree with stephen in that people shouldn't be allowed to choose things such as height, hair colour etc. because then the system would be abused over these little details. It would create trends (such as in fashion) as a person would have to look a certain way with certani colours and height to be cool, and people who weren't born designed like this would be shunned by society (this would all occur in the next generation when the children would grow up). But yes, we should be playing around with human beings as an art form and designing them to our liking.

Step Hen said...

well, about aborting the child because if he/she is "genetically defective" seems to degrade the value of life

it is a choice that the parents make, but it is NOT a choice that the child makes....i think if parents decide to bring a child to this earth, they should be responsible enough to live with the fact that their child may be prone to diseases....i think (if this test ever comes into place) that once the parents decide to nurture the embryo they "select", they should hv to stick with it and not decide to abort it later maybe due to some other reasons....

i guess that was an argument too against just releasing a certain number of facts, coz then who gets to choose, why 3-5, and not 10-12, and wt if the "right" questions werent asked and you end up with a "less favourable" child.....

Robin said...

Reply to step_hen: (sorry if I spelled that wrong)

Once again, imagine the confusion that would cause? Legal loopholes would be abound. Some would argue that obesity is a disease, that a grossly large nose is a disease and an impediment to life. Neo-Nazis would even argue that brown eyes and hair are unnatural and should be eradicated.

As well, the definition of superficial is vague. Is wanting a healthy heart superficial, if a slight deformity would leave you weak, but living?

eye.russ said...

it would be interesting to wonder how far we could go with PIGDs after the initial hype of being able to check for genetic diseases and such. would it just be parents who could make the decision? how 'bout aunts and uncles, siblings, close friends and relatives? will they soon get a say during PIGD's? will this become like the "create your own teddy bear" stores of biotech where everybody gets to pick and choose eggs with their favorite and preferred characteristics? i think initially, PIGD's will be very useful, but there will always be those extremely shallow people who will corrupt and decimate a good concept like PIGDs.

Anonymous said...

I believe that PIGD is a useful tool. However, there are limits to what it should be used for, as the decisions based on information from PIGD will effect potential human lives. The future of that group of cells that have been diagnosed should not be prevented because of "superficial" reasons, such as eye or hair colour.
However, those cells that have been diagnosed with a high risk for certain genetic diseases might be aborted for that reason. When making such a decision, topics such as the actual probability of getting certain diseases, what type of disease, the quality of life that the child will have even if he or she has the gene for a disease, must be taken into account.
With reasons for what PIGD should or shouldn't be used to detect, there will always be a "grey spot" where decisions aren't so easily made. This includes late-onset diseases where the child is able to live a normal life, or traits that, while they aren't ideal, will not greatly influence the child's life. Such cases should be treated on a case-by-case basis, with certain guidelines.

LP said...

I think that PIGD should be used so that people will know the chances of them getting certain diseases. This will allow them to take up preventive measures, which may allow them to live longer. However, I don't think that PIGD should be used to make the most "perfect" child as possible, since it is very costly and will not be available to everyone; this will further widen the gap in society even further.

Philip_Vancouver said...

Yes, PIGD should be permitted. I am confident that a child or adult with a debilitating handicap would prefer to be fully healthy. Therefore, if given the choice between a healthy egg and a diseased egg, it is morally correct to choose the healthy egg.

If our society does accept PIGD, then we must establish rules to govern the use of this procedure. During in vitro fertilization, parents should be free to choose whether or not they want genetic screening for their future child before the egg is returned to the womb. If they do elect to screen their eggs, the screening should be limited to diseases which are permanent and life-threatening. The genetic information from the screening of the eggs must never leave the Doctor’s office so as to avoid any discrimination based on DNA.

As the PIGD technology becomes more and more sophisticated, it will be tempting to define a person and set expectations for that person based on their DNA. However, that would be a devastating mistake. We must remember that the environment and setting that a child grows up in also has a significant influence on their physical and mental development and capacity.

Signed: A genetically un-modified

porules said...

Choice given by PIGD can have short term advantages that may bring, although it may somewhat doom the human race because this power of choice would give people control over the overall evolution of the human gene pool --> which I don't think should be controlled because this would lead to unpredictable changes in the human species. PIGD should be allowed to be applied to only those whose disease are treatable, lethal, and/or causing harmful effects on the patient's life. I think that this technology is one of those technological paradoxes which can be argued either way (a reason for this debate) because it can either hinder scientific progress or cross ethical boundaries. I guess there is no real "right" or "moral" answer that can suit everyone at once but I guess a slow and cautious introduction of the PIGD technology can benefit humanity, if not incrementally and well-monitored.

mel said...

I think using PIGD to look for diseases is a good idea, and would save many families a lot of pain and trouble. However, using PIGD to pick and choose the traits and appearance of your child is going too far and is an abuse of the technology. Having laws to control the use of PIGD is a good idea. I think that it should be used only to look for genetic diseases, but doctors shouldn't tell parents details. After all, just because a child has a chance of getting heart disease or cancer, doesn't mean they will. And people can still be successful without being super-smart or -athletic, and it doesn't matter what peoples' hair or eye colors are.

SaMuRaI7 said...

Well the 3-5 limit would neccessarily cause "chaos," or confusion, but yes it may cause some anger in some instances. But it won't be too hard to control if the law states it and the government is there to enforce it(cops). But the doctors could publish the 3 chosen facts and only those, and inform the parents of this. Also, you could have a program (liek the Huntington's 6 week program, but not as long maybe) to inform parents of everything invloved in the process and clearly state the 3 limit. It's just one way that MIGHT work to prevent a class gap (valid/nonvalid).

Robin said...

Reply to ste_phen's second comment:

Your rational is like saying that if in a daycare, one child hurts another with scissors, that the scissors should be taken away from all? Or rather, that the daycare workers should be more cautious in who they give the scissors too?

There will always be stupid people who make stupid choices. Always. This will never, ever be prevented. However, they should not restrict the abilities of all the others who make rational decisions.

vw10 said...

I think that the parents should be able to use PIGD to determine which and what kind of child they want, and use it to the eztent that they feel is right. Just because some people feel strongly against it doesn't mean that they have to abide by their morals.

Step Hen said...

answer to robin:

i guess "superficial" is a bit vague, but.....wt i meant were things that would not matter, things that wont change who you are, such as skin colour, and really all factors of appearance....

i guess i kind of find it disturbing, how we can choose....i mean with choices come consequences....if we hv a society of entirely "healthy" ppl, would it really be for the best?....i mean, wt's wrong with the "traditional" method of letting God (or whoever else depending on ur religion) decide wt child you are going to hv??

if you are a parent that truly loves a child, it would not matter if the child is a "perfect" human or one constantly bombarded by genetic diseases

biology said...

i think that PIGD should not be permitted at all be in my personal thoughts, i think that we as humans can only deal with science to a point where you cannot pass and that to me the point of mother nature, when you have to mess with mother nature to do something then that tells you that your pass the limit. yes it is good to have technology and to help sick people get better with biotechnology but when it comes to treating it before they are born then that is like choosing a kid to give birth to. it is completely unfair to peolpe that don't have the money and chance to do PIGD. i think that we should leave mother nature as is and let it flow as it may be, i don't even think that we should be able to know what is wrong with the baby before birth, even though we have the ability to i don't think it should be made that the public can choose to see what kind of a baby that they may have and if they don't like it then they can choose to abort it,that does not leave a fair chance for the baby. i think that we should olny permit genetic diagnostics after birth, then that way we can prevent abortions, and give chance the the life that may be coming to the earth. plus the fact that if parents have a chance to do PIGD then they will possibley want to do more than just treat diseases, if they hav the oppertunity to, i'm shure that they will want ther child to be smart and pretty and the best that they may possible make it, which leaves and uneven chance for other children in the world that don't have the chance to be perfected before birth because thier parents didn't have the oppertunity to or even if they did they didn't have the money to do it anyways. bottom line is that we should mess with nature, we have don't enough already and i think that we should leave it at that, the only exception for me would be that it is under the condition of medical reasons and it is used only to "save lives" and "not make". lives.

pat_ty said...

i personally think that it is not necessary for the society to provide such thing. even if they provide it, it should only be allowed to use in some special occasions such as determining diseases etc. as we see in the movie the gattaca, the society are turning itself into an unfair, human race world.

Step Hen said...

robin:

i think your example with daycares may not necessarily be a gd example....i mean....why would the child hv the pair of scissors in the first place? was it because it was just lying on the ground, was it free for neone to take, or was it becuase they were doing some activities that needed scissors, coz then in each case the solution would be different

it might be a bit narrow-minded to suppose "one" solution can solve everything

Ashish said...

not to sound futile; but since certain countries would allow PIGD practices to be carried out, other countries would follow so as not to be left behind as a degenerate populace. Whether ethics deters people from agreeing to such practices now or not, eventually competition will override ethics and there won't be enough regular borns to see it as a problem to reverse. All it takes is one country.