Show Summary Details
Page of

Choosing Embryos to Avoid Disease 

Choosing Embryos to Avoid Disease
Choosing Embryos to Avoid Disease

Robert L. Klitzman

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 July 2021

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) lets patients reject embryos with certain genes (e.g., for breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, or Down syndrome). Increasingly, researchers are also using whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing to identify genetic markers associated with other diseases. Doctors and patients can also choose embryos with certain immune system markers or human leukocyte antigens to enable the future child to donate stem cells or other tissues to an existing child with a severe disease and be a so-called savior sibling. This procedure has been used for sickle-cell anemia and beta-thalassemia. In the near future, CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) also will let doctors insert desired genes into embryos. But providers and patients struggle with when to use PGD, for which conditions, how to decide, how many times to attempt PGD if it fails, whether to select embryos to create savior siblings, whether patients should always be told the results of genetic tests on embryos, whether to test the fetus to confirm the results, and what to do with leftover embryos—whether to freeze, discard, or donate them.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.