A Clash at the Petri Dish: Transferring Embryos With Known Genetic Anomalies
November 2, 2017
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Thomas & Mack Moot Courtroom
1 CLE credit
Presenter Judith Daar, Clinical Professor, University of California Irvine, School of Medicine & Visiting Professor, UCLA School of Law (Spring 2018).
Advancing technologies in genetic testing of preimplantation embryos enable prospective parents to access detailed information about their future child’s health status, facilitating and complicating their reproductive decision-making. Rapid developments in preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) offer the opportunity to detect nearly 300 genetic anomalies in an IVF-produced embryo a mere five days after its formation in the laboratory setting. In rare but clinically, legally, and ethically important instances, patients seek transfer of one or more embryos that PGT reveals are nearly certain to produce offspring with a health-affecting genetic disorder. This presentation considers the clinical circumstances in which such patient requests arise as well as the arguments surrounding a fertility provider’s decision to either honor or decline such requests. The clash between a patient’s autonomy and a provider’s professional conscience is at the forefront of argumentation, but powerful sub-arguments speak to concerns over the welfare of any resulting child and the integrity of the medical profession admonished to “do no harm.” After setting out the principles and arguments that support honoring or declining patient requests for transfer of genetically anomalous embryos, the presentation tackles the more practical side of the dilemma, reviewing a variety of approaches that have or could be employed by fertility clinics and individual practitioners. The merits and drawbacks of these clinical solutions are discussed, along with a more broad-based approach that works to recognize the equal dignity in both the patient and provider positions.
4:05-4:50 Judith Daar
4:50-5:00 Questions and Answers