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The 5th ELSI Congress - ELSIcon2022

ELIScon2022 Panel: Polygenic Embryo Screening: Ethical Considerations and Stakeholder Perspectives


ELSIcon2022 • Panel Session 4 • May 31, 2022

Gabriel Lázaro-Muñoz, Stacey Pereira, Todd Lencz, Laura Hercher

This panel will examine ethical, scientific, clinical, and social considerations related to the emerging use of embryo screening for polygenic conditions (e.g., psychiatric disorders, diabetes, heart disease, cancer), and traits (e.g., height, intelligence). Recently, at least one company in the United States began offering potential parents the possibility to screen their embryos for polygenic conditions to inform the selection of embryos for implantation. While the benefits of embryo screening for polygenic conditions is appealing (e.g., decreased risk for certain diseases), there are many important ethical, scientific, clinical, and social considerations raised by polygenic embryo screening (PES). Nevertheless, in the U.S., there is little regulation regarding the kinds of genetic tests that can be conducted in embryos. In other places, such as the United Kingdom, screening for polygenic conditions would not be possible, at least for now, and screening for "desirable" traits would be highly unlikely to ever gain approval. The U.K. regulates embryo screening through the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority using criteria such as the severity of the condition, likelihood of being inherited, and testimony of people affected by the condition. Meanwhile, in the US, the press recently reported on the first child born after selection using PES.


Screening for polygenic conditions and risk scores
reproductive genetics

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