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About Genetic Selection

Genetic selection procedures are done either on fetuses, through prenatal screening, or on embryos that are outside a woman’s body, through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).

PGD tests embryos for the presence of genetic sequences linked to a variety of conditions and characteristics. A cell is extracted from an embryo at its eight-cell stage and analyzed. Embryos with the selected characteristics can be implanted in a woman's uterus to develop into a child. The procedure does not appear to affect embryos’ or fetuses’ subsequent development, though more follow-up studies of children born after PGD are needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Arguments Pro & Con

PGD was developed to allow couples at risk of passing on a serious genetic disease to have children not affected by it. Since its introduction in 1990, it has been most widely used to prevent the birth of children with conditions such as Down's syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, Huntington's chorea, and Cooley's anemia.

However, PGD is increasingly being used for other reasons. These include social sex selection, creating “savior siblings” who can provide bone marrow or other transplant tissues to sick older siblings, and selecting against embryos with genes correlated with late-onset and non-fatal conditions. Some clinics have even offered the technique for purely cosmetic traits including eye color, hair color, and skin complexion.

A newer variation of PGD, called Preimplantation Genetic Haplotyping, allows for many more genes to be tested, and for greater accuracy.

Many disability rights advocates, in particular, have been critical of PGD and prenatal screening. They point out that the definition of "disease" is to some extent subjective. Most support women’s right to decide whether or not to have a child at a given time, but are critical of basing this decision on the traits of the particular embryo or fetus.

Lisa Ikemoto Guest Piece on Human Germline Genetic Modificationby Lisa C. IkemotoKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMarch 23rd, 2015The call for a moratorium is as much a game changer as the technology itself. It creates an opportunity for research transparency and open exchange between the scientific community and the lay public.
Public interest group condemns human germline modification efforts, supports research moratorium, calls for US prohibition[Press Statement]March 19th, 2015We're at a watershed moment in determining whether human genetic technologies will be used in the public interest and for the common good, or in ways that are dangerous and socially pernicious.
Engineering the Perfect Babyby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMarch 5th, 2015Scientists are developing ways to edit the DNA of tomorrow’s children. Should they stop before it’s too late?
FDA Regulation and Early Prenatal Testingby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 5th, 2015The information that accompanies prenatal testing should be accurate, complete, useful, and most of all nondirective. The ads for early prenatal tests do not meet these criteria.
'Designer Babies' Debate Should Start, Scientists Sayby James GallagherBBC NewsJanuary 18th, 2015New gene editing techniques make "designer babies" more feasible, but that does not mean it's inevitably the way we have to go as a society.
The Future of Conceptionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2015Numerous writers took advantage of the ending year to look broadly at just how drastically we are changing the process of baby-making, and what it all means for society.
2014 in Biomedicine: Rewriting DNA, Decoding the Brain, and a GMO Paradoxby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewDecember 30th, 2014From genetically modified foods to gene therapy, 2014 was a big year for rewriting biology.
Cell Free DNA Screening is not a Simple Blood TestSociety for Maternal Fetal MedicineDecember 18th, 2014By its very nature, a screening test does not tell with 100% certainty whether or not a fetus will be affected by a given disorder.
Prenatal Tests: Oversold and Misunderstoodby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 16th, 2014A scathing investigative report on the accuracy of noninvasive prenatal testing is likely to shift the terms of this important conversation.
Yesterday's War; Tomorrow's Technology by Nicholas G. Evans and Jonathan D. MorenoJournal of Law and the BiosciencesDecember 15th, 2014What's wrong with the prospect of the US military using genetic screening and germline genetic engineering to select or "enhance" soldiers?
CRISPR Opportunities ... For What? And for Whom?by Pete ShanksHuffington PostDecember 10th, 2014Money and deals are flowing into companies that promise to edit genes. Human, animal, plant, all kinds of DNA may be on the cutting board.
Commercialisation and the Moral Obligation to Create 'Designer' Babiesby John GallowayBioNewsDecember 8th, 2014Julian Savulescu made the case for a new 'eugenics', without ever using the word, at Progress Educational Trust's 2014 annual conference.
Couple Spends $50K to Choose Baby's Sex, Shining Light on Trend[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Beth GreenfieldYahooDecember 5th, 2014What if a boy wants to write poetry? What if a girl wants to play basketball? Not wear dresses? Announce that she’s transgender?
Extinct Species Should Stay Extinctby Ben A. MinteerCenter for Humans and NatureDecember 1st, 2014How far should we go to bring back lost species?
When Making Babies Goes High Tech: A Future Tense Event Recap[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ariel BogleSlateNovember 24th, 2014From pre-implantation genetic screening to exo-wombs, these changes could even evolve our most basic notions of family and society.
Why Worry About Genetically Modified Babies?by Marcy Darnovsky and Jessica CussinsGeneWatchNovember 24th, 2014The terms "genetically modified babies" and "designer babies" are attention-getters. But beyond the catchy sound bites, what do they really mean - and are they something we need to worry about?
Breaking from our Eugenic Pastby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2014As the victims of North Carolina's eugenics program finally receive compensation, we should not celebrate "the new eugenics" as some have argued, but learn carefully from this history.
Could Genomics Revive The Eugenics Movement?by Meredith SalisburyForbesNovember 8th, 2014There was a time when people in America were sterilized, sometimes unwittingly, by activists aiming to create a healthier, “better” population. As the progress of genomics accelerates, we need to remember the lessons of the past.
North Carolina Compensates Victims of Eugenic Sterilization[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Lily LouThe GuilfordianNovember 7th, 2014The drive behind these sterilizations was the eugenics movement: the pseudoscience of improving a society’s gene pool through reducing populations of people with negative traits.
Geneticists Tap Human Knockoutsby Ewen CallawayNature NewsOctober 29th, 2014Sequenced genomes reveal mutations that disable single genes and can point to new drugs.
Genetic Testing for Alzheimer’s — Without Revealing the Resultsby Shirley S. WangThe Wall Street JournalOctober 13th, 2014Doctors are devising new ways to shield patients from information about their odds for developing inherited disease as genetic testing becomes more common.
Eugenics: The Academy's Complicityby Nathaniel Adam Tobias ColemanTimes Higher EducationOctober 9th, 2014The University of London will face up to its complicity in constructing unjust racial hierarchy, 110 years to the day that the university legitimised Francis Galton's research on eugenics.
Reproducing Raceby Dov FoxThe Huffington PostOctober 6th, 2014It is troubling for donor services to accentuate race in ways that invite parents to exclude wholesale from their consideration all donors of a particular race.
The Troubling Persistence of Eugenicist Thought in Modern America by Michael Brendan DoughertyThe WeekSeptember 30th, 2014We no longer talk of "unfit" children, but we'll still destroy them in the name of quality of life.
A New Generation of GMOsby Josie GarthwaiteEnsiaSeptember 18th, 2014Is synthetic biology on its way to our farms, markets and tables?
Shame and Scandal in the 23andMe Familyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2014In response to its problems with the FDA and news about family traumas triggered by its tests' "close relatives" option, 23andMe is hiring new executives, including a Chief Privacy Officer.
“Evolution right now is in the marketplace”by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2014George Church is as outrageous as ever, while both transhumanist ideas and concerns about increasing inequality are receiving more attention.
A Manifesto for Playing God with Human Evolutionby Carl ElliottNew ScientistSeptember 8th, 2014Fancy living forever, or uploading your mind to the net? The Proactionary Imperative embraces transhumanist dreams, but reminds why we need medical ethics.
Disability Will Never Be Immoral by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 29th, 2014Prenatal genetic testing can be a valuable tool, but it provides strikingly limited data. Events of this summer, including the abandonment of Baby Gammy and shockingly intolerant comments from Richard Dawkins, speak to the risk of conflating one type of information with a broader reality.
Will my Disabled Daughter have a Place in this Genetic Wonderland?by Ian BirrellThe GuardianAugust 7th, 2014Until society gets to grips with prejudice we cannot start to grapple with the profound questions that medical advances raise.
The Perfect 46: A “Science Factual” Film about our Near Futureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2014A new science fiction film called “a sort of prequel to Gattaca” highlights the rise and fall of a genetic startup that analyzes people’s genomes to assess their ability to produce disease-free children.
Should We Design Our Babies? [VIDEO] [With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Aspen InstituteJuly 2nd, 2014At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Marcy Darnovsky and Nita A. Farahany discuss the possibility and implications of "designer babies."
Advancing the Disability Rights Perspective on Bioethics Issuesby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesJune 26th, 2014Reproductive technologies were on the agenda of the first-ever Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics.
Quantified and Analyzed, Before the First Breathby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 26th, 2014Could whole genome sequencing in utero ever become the norm? Should it?
For One Baby, Life Begins with Genome Revealedby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 13th, 2014A professional blogger says sequencing his son in utero “was more cool than practical.” He did it to show where technology is headed and because he likes “pushing the envelope.”
Genetic Information is Irrelevant to Most People's Care[Press Release]GeneWatch UKJune 4th, 2014"Plans to sequence everybody's genomes in the NHS are driven by commercial interests and are not in the public interest," said Dr Helen Wallace of GeneWatch UK.
Making Babiesby Alexis C. MadrigalThe AtlanticMay 21st, 2014Some guesses about how the future may change what’s involved in making a person—from the ease of getting pregnant, to the mechanics of procreation, to our very definition of family.
NIPS SPINby Robert RestaThe DNA ExchangeApril 21st, 2014Every few years a new screening technology comes zooming down the prenatal pike, sometimes arriving more quickly than we might like. The latest iteration – Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening – stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Stocking the Genetic Supermarket: Reproductive Genetic Technologies and Collective Action Problemsby Chris Gyngell and Thomas DouglasWiley Online LibraryApril 10th, 2014Reproductive genetic technologies targeting non-medical traits could lead to collective action problems. Does this risk justify state intervention in the genetic supermarket?
Meet your unborn child – before it's even conceived[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Catherine de LangeNew ScientistApril 9th, 2014A service that creates digital embryos by virtually mixing two people's DNA will allow parents to screen out genetic disorders – and perhaps much more.
Editorial: Genome editing for allNature BiotechnologyApril 8th, 2014CRISPR-Cas is about to transform how we interrogate genetic variants and model disease.
Startup Offering DNA Screening of 'Hypothetical Babies' Raises Fears Over Designer Children[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Catherine de LangeThe GuardianApril 5th, 2014Anne Morriss and Lee Silver are about to launch a company called Genepeeks that uses the DNA of sperm donors and recipients to create "virtual babies."
Genetic Inheritance: How Much do you Want to Know?by Stuart JeffriesThe GuardianApril 4th, 2014Scientist Sharon Moalem says we will soon be able to alter our children's lives with genetic manipulation – would you do it if you could?
A Disturbing Trend: Conscience Clauses Threaten Genetic Counselingby Alex SternHuffington PostApril 2nd, 2014Conscience clauses place genetic counselors in an untenable predicament: State laws and hospital directives are in conflict with professional ethics and best practices.
A Disturbing Trend: Conscience Clauses Threaten Genetic Counselingby Alex SternHuffPostApril 2nd, 2014Genetic counselors are increasingly being officially recognized and licensed, but some states are imposing "conscience clauses" that in practice may conflict with their professional ethics.
Breast Cancer Genes and Patient Protection in an Era of Personalized Medicineby Karuna JaggarHuffington PostMarch 20th, 2014Genetic testing is often heralded as a cornerstone of personalized medicine, but progress has lagged while persistent medical, ethical and scientific issues abound.
Can You Pass the (Deoxyribonucleic) Acid Test?[with CGS's Pete Shanks]Center for Environmental HealthMarch 17th, 2014Discussion with Kira Peikoff, Dr. David Ng, Dr. Stuart Newman, and Pete Shanks on 23andMe, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, epigenetics, and GMO humans.
Stirring the Simmering “Designer Baby” Potby Thomas H. MurrayScienceMarch 14th, 2014Good ethics begins with good facts, but the effort by the FDA to get the facts straight is just the beginning of the conversation we must have on the wisdom of new reproductive technologies.
Adrienne Asch: A Career at the Intersection of Bioethics and Disability Studiesby Sara BergstresserVoices in BioethicsMarch 12th, 2014Recognizing Adrienne Asch's pioneering work: Remembrances by three people who knew her both professionally and personally.
When Science Doesn't Have all the Answersby Louise KinrossBloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?
Is Genetic Testing Humans Playing God?by Robert KlitzmanCNNFebruary 22nd, 2014Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis allows doctors to test embryos before they are implanted into a woman's womb, to help ensure that certain gene mutations are not passed on. But this procedure is raising myriad complex ethical and social issues.
Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive Childrenby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
To Catch a Killer Gene: Sisters Race to Stop Mystery Disease[Quotes CGS's Osagie K. Obasogie]by Tony DokoupilNBC NewsFebruary 6th, 2014This story of a family banding together to stop a disease before it cuts a path through society illustrates the promise of genomic medicine, but also the soul-troubling questions that arise when people have a hand in their own evolution.
Right on target: New era of fast genetic engineeringby Colin BarrasNew ScientistJanuary 27th, 2014If we ever decide to genetically modify people, this is the tool to do it with.
Is genius in the genes?by Steven RoseTESJanuary 24th, 2014The debate about genes and intelligence has resurfaced, and it’s more fervent than ever. Can achievement truly be inherited? Should education be tailored to individuals’ genetic potential?
A Chinese Prodigy's Quest For The Genetic Roots Of Geniusby Ursula GauthierWorldcrunchJanuary 22nd, 2014Zhao Bowen’s mission is to sequence the genome of prodigies like himself to find the genetic roots of genius.
Building the Better Babyby Craig KlugmanBioethics.netJanuary 21st, 2014BGI, the Chinese company, is hoping that it will soon be able to offer parents an option like that in GATTACA — choosing the “smartest” embryo.
CGS Letter to the FDA on Mitochondrial TransferThe Center for Genetics and Society's letter regarding the FDA's February 25-26 public meeting to discuss the advisability of a technique that would modify the human germline.
Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?by Seth Stephens-DavidowitzNew York TimesJanuary 18th, 2014Google searches suggest that American parents are far more likely to want their boys smart and their girls skinny. Among those looking for information on sex selection, there is about a 10 percent preference for boys.
DNA Dreamingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2014A new documentary looks at the Chinese company that styles itself "the world’s largest genomics organization,” and its hunt for the genetic basis of intelligence.
Chinese Scientists, “Genius Genes,” and the Future of Genomicsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 7th, 2014The New Yorker delves into the “biological data mill” that is BGI: the world’s largest, and arguably most controversial, genomics headquarters.
Non-Invasive Method Devised to Sequence DNA of Human Eggsby Erika Check HaydenNatureDecember 19th, 2013Scientists have begun a clinical trial to test whether a new DNA-sequencing technique for human egg cells can improve in vitro fertilization success rates.
New Ways to Engineer the Germlineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
23andMe's Troubles: The Spat over Spit by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013First a warning letter from the FDA, then a class action lawsuit. What's next for Google-backed 23andMe, the only direct-to-consumer genetic testing company still in the game?
What Huxley Knewby J. P. HarpigniesLetter to the New York TimesNovember 24th, 2013Huxley’s assembly-line baby factories were an exaggeration, but it’s a mistake to dismiss too quickly his fears about the genetic manipulation of the species.
Adrienne Asch, Bioethicist and Pioneer in Disability Studies, Dies at 67by Margalit FoxThe New York TimesNovember 23rd, 2013Adrienne Asch, an internationally known bioethicist who opposed the use of prenatal testing and abortion to select children free of disabilities, died on Nov. 19 at her home in Manhattan.
Company Patenting Tech for Designing Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FowlerKTVUNovember 20th, 2013Biotechnology may give parents unprecedented choices. Fertility clinics already use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select traits for some in-vitro babies, but intentional manipulation might create ethical nightmares.
Designing Childrenby Jonathan WebberGenomics Law ReportNovember 12th, 2013Some degree of mastery over the genetic future of the human species seems to be a possibility. For whom and for what does this technology exist?
You Can't Predict Destiny by Designing Your Baby's Genomeby Megan Allyse and Marsha MichieThe Wall Street JournalNovember 8th, 2013New genetic and reproductive techniques will only reveal that human life is too multifaceted to be reduced to a mathematical formula.
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worldsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
Designer Babies: Fact or Fiction?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Franki WebbIPPro Life SciencesOctober 31st, 2013To what extent is 23andMe’s “designer babies” patent scientifically and morally dubious? IPPro speaks to experts about the controversial subject.
Judge Invalidates Patent for a Down Syndrome Testby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 31st, 2013A federal judge has invalidated the central patent underlying a noninvasive method of detecting Down syndrome in fetuses without the risk of inducing a miscarriage.
Are We Too Close to Making Gattaca a Reality?by Ferris JabrScientific AmericanOctober 28th, 2013An era of market-based eugenics would exterminate any lingering notions of meritocracy. But that could never happen this side of the silver screen, right?
The Science And Ethics Of Personal Genetic Testing[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Diane RehmThe Diane Rehm ShowOctober 28th, 2013Direct-to-consumer gene tests now cost just a few hundred dollars. A panel of experts discusses the science and ethics of personal genetic testing.
A Former IVF Baby on "Three-Parent IVF"by Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 24th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement raises one of the thorniest questions humanity will ever face: are we willing to genetically modify future generations of humans?
New Tests, Same Old Bias and Misinformationby Rachel AdamsThe Huffington PostOctober 21st, 2013October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, so the timing of a lazy and poorly researched New York Times piece on prenatal screening was particularly unfortunate.
Regulators Weigh Benefits of ‘Three-Parent’ Fertilization[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Erika Check HaydenNatureOctober 15th, 2013Scientists and other critics say mitochondrial replacement carries safety and ethical concerns.
Company Seeks to Make Sperm Banks Saferby Carolyn Y. JohnsonThe Boston GlobeOctober 14th, 2013A new company will test a woman’s DNA and the genes of potential sperm donors to produce a personalized list that strikes out donors who may be a bad match for about 600 genetic childhood diseases.
Proposed Treatment To Fix Genetic Diseases Raises Ethical Issues[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPROctober 9th, 2013The FDA will consider whether to allow scientists to take a controversial step: make changes in some of the genetic material in a woman's egg that would be passed down through generations.
The Arlene Bynon Show[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Arlene BynonThe Arlene Bynon ShowOctober 7th, 2013Marcy Darnovsky discusses 23andMe's recent "designer baby" patent with on a national affairs program broadcast on SiriusXM.
My Problem with "Taboo" Behavioral Genetics? The Science Stinks!by John HorganScientific AmericanOctober 4th, 2013Last spring, I kicked up a kerfuffle by proposing that research on race and intelligence, given its potential for exacerbating discrimination, should be banned. Now Nature has expanded this debate with "Taboo Genetics."
Three parent babies 'incompatible with human dignity'by Nick CollinsThe Telegraph [UK]October 4th, 2013A group of 34 European politicians has signed a declaration attacking plans that would make the UK the first country in the world to permit the technique.
23andMe Says It's Not (Now) in the Designer Baby Businessby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 4th, 2013The direct-to-consumer genetic testing company was awarded a patent for "gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations," but now says it has no intention of using the technology.
Center for Genetics and Society Calls on 23andMe to Disavow “Designer Babies”: Controversial New Patent Raises Critical Questions [Press statement]October 2nd, 201323andMe's new patent is an irresponsible step that amounts to shopping for designer donors in an effort to produce designer babies.
[VIDEO] Debating Embryonic Genetic Testing[With CGS Advisory Board member Francine Coeytaux]The DoctorsOctober 1st, 2013New genetic tests, including Next Generation Sequencing, can radically improve the odds of a healthy, full term pregnancy … but where do we draw the line? Hear more from The Doctors.
Scientists Warn Against “Three-Parent IVF” Experimentby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 25th, 2013Three evolutionary biologists enumerate a number of scientific studies and methodological shortcomings that have been overlooked in the debate on mitochondrial replacement. Their study has elicited numerous defensive responses, despite bringing important details to bear.
On Designer Babiesby Sheldon KrimskyTufts Medicine, Summer 2013It is unimaginable that any humane society would permit a human trial of genetic modification where the potential risks so outweigh the social benefits.
At the End of the Slippery Slope: Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogyby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 24th, 2013Atwood says her trilogy "invents nothing we haven’t already invented or started to invent" — suggesting that though her work is fiction and not a tract, she also intends to do far more than entertain.
Ethical Minefield of Parents in Controlby Neil McMahonThe Sydney Morning HeraldSeptember 14th, 2013Designer babies - their gender, personality traits and skin color chosen by genetic testing - are a looming reality. But are we ready to confront this minefield of ethics?
Is Individuality the Savior of Eugenics?by Nathaniel ComfortScientific AmericanAugust 23rd, 2013Once defined as “the science of human improvement through better breeding,” eugenics has roared back into the headlines in recent weeks in both Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll personae.
Edge of the Map: An Experiment in Science and in Theaterby Alice WexlerUCLA Center for the Study of WomenAugust 6th, 2013A group of Harvard students created a theater piece called Edge of the Map, a collage based on real-life and invented scenarios involving ethical and social dilemmas in genetics.
Is Eugenics Ever Okay?by Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaJuly 26th, 2013Recognizing that we are grasping the reins of human evolution as fast as we can raises two sets of concerns. First, “What if it doesn’t work?” Second, "What if it does?"
Made With Loveby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 22nd, 2013The first baby has been born following “next generation genetic sequencing” of IVF embryos. What are the implications?
In Search of Fair Babies, Indians Chase Caucasian Donors for IVFby Shobita DharThe Times of IndiaJuly 21st, 2013Mayuri Singhal married into a fair-skinned family. When she couldn't conceive, she walked into an IVF clinic with her demand: a 'white' baby.
The Ethics of Three-Genetic-Parent Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Margaret SomervilleOttawa CitizenJuly 17th, 2013The human germline must be held on trust as the common heritage of humankind, no matter how much good we believe we could do by altering it.
Designer Babies are on the Horizon but Aren't Here Yet by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 10th, 2013IVF is inexorably opening the door to a future where parents can choose desirable traits in their children.
'Designer Babies': The Ultimate Privileged Elite?by Heather LongGuardianJuly 9th, 2013A US baby born via IVF and genetically screened could open the door to wealthy parents selecting for ideal traits in their kids.
Eight Misconceptions about “Three-Parent Babies”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2013Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.
A Slippery Slope to Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyNatureJuly 9th, 2013The United Kingdom’s decision to trial the technique of mitochondrial replacement is premature and ill-conceived.
First Baby Born After Full Genetic Screening of Embryos by Linda GeddesNew ScientistJuly 8th, 2013"There is the potential for getting an unprecedented amount of information about an embryo before it's transferred to the womb. We need to be very careful that this isn't used for trivial, non-medical reasons."
The Rise of a New Eugenicsby Lloyd Lewis and Julie ReiskinDenver PostJuly 4th, 2013Non-invasive prenatal testing technology is dangerously ahead of society's understanding of people who have Down syndrome.
Three Person IVFby Paula BoddingtonPractical EthicsJune 29th, 2013Unfortunately, this debate, like so many others in announcements of developing science and technology related to health in general and genetics in particular, is marred by hype and by urgency.
Three Parent Baby[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]KPIX HealthWatchJune 27th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement would create "three parent babies," and could be attempted in humans soon, but carries risks to the child and broad societal consequences.
Public Interest Group Urges UK Government Not to Break International Consensus Against Inheritable Genetic Modification[Press statement]June 27th, 2013That the UK may move toward permitting mitochondrial replacement is particularly disturbing when the safety is very much in doubt, when its usefulness is dubious, and when the claim of public support is highly misleading at best.
Powerful Gene-Editing Tool Appears to Cause Off-Target Mutations in Human Cellsby Massachusetts General HospitalScience CodexJune 23rd, 2013A team of researchers has found a significant limitation to the use of a group of synthetic proteins, which had generated great excitement in the scientific community as a gene-editing tool.
U.S. Approves a Label for Meat From Animals Fed a Diet Free of Gene-Modified Productsby Stephanie StromThe New York TimesJune 20th, 2013The Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.
The Bleak New World of Prenatal Geneticsby Marcy Darnovsky and Alexandra Minna SternThe Wall Street JournalJune 12th, 2013Like so many other powerful technologies, fetal gene tests must be used with caution and care.
Quest for 'Genius Babies'?by Colleen FlahertyInside Higher EdMay 29th, 2013Controversy about a cognitive genomics project raises concerns that a new generation of eugenicists may be coming of age.
“World's First GM Babies Born”: 12-Year-Old Article Continues to Cause Confusionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 25th, 2013An undated Daily Mail article that is actually over a decade old continues to spread misinformation about human genetic modification.
The Baby Blueprint [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera EnglishApril 22nd, 2013Would you choose your child's genetic potential? Live debate with Marcy Darnovsky, Stuart Newman, Julian Savulescu, and Nita Farahany.
Lord Robert Winston Warning Over Child ‘Eugenics’ by Lyndsay BucklandScotsmanApril 11th, 2013A leading fertility expert warns that reproductive technologies could enable a form of eugenics with serious implications for the individuals involved and society in general.
Three-Parent Children in UK Possible After HFEA Report[Quotes the Center for Genetics and Society]by Michael CookBioEdgeApril 6th, 2013The UK fertility regulator's report to the government misrepresented its own findings about public opinion.
Tough Calls on Prenatal Tests by Christopher WeaverWall Street JournalApril 3rd, 2013New prenatal gene tests are reshaping care for expectant mothers, but their rapid rollout has raised fears that poorly understood results could lead to confusion among patients and doctors.
Are Parents Entitled To Create A Dream Child? [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]HuffPost LiveMarch 29th, 2013What if science allowed prospective parents to create smarter and healthier babies? This idea is just as exciting as it is alarming, but is it realistic? Should it be?
GM Crops Evil, GM Children OK?by Chris BennettWestern Farm PressMarch 27th, 2013China is surging ahead with a research project aimed at identifying millions of genetic variations in order to boost intelligence.
HealthWatch: Britain Considers Allowing Babies From 3 Parents [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kim MulvihillCBS San FranciscoMarch 20th, 2013Britain's fertility regulator says it has found broad public support for in vitro fertilization techniques that allow babies to be created with DNA from three people for couples at risk of passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases.
Three-Person IVF Moves Closer in UKby James GallagherBBC NewsMarch 20th, 2013The UK has moved closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies from three people.
Eugenics Fear Over Gene Modification[Letter to the Editor]by David King et al.The GuardianMarch 15th, 2013The benefits of mitochondrial replacement are heavily outweighed by the risks to the child and to society.
Experiments with Inheritable Genetic Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 13th, 2013A developmental biologist looks carefully at research on mitochondria replacement that would be an experimental form of human inheritable genetic modification.
The British Embryo Authority and the Chamber of Eugenicsby Stuart A. NewmanHuffington PostMarch 11th, 2013Mitochondria replacement would be a misuse of technology with clear potential for individual and social harms.
Major Grocer to Label Foods With Gene-Modified Contentby Stephanie StromThe New York TimesMarch 8th, 2013Whole Foods Market will become the first US retailer to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry.
GM Babies?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2013A debate about genetically engineered babies is hijacked by slick rhetoric.
Meet the New Eugenics, Same as the Old Eugenicsby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2013According to a new wave of eugenic advocacy, “we” have a “moral obligation” to enhance future generations.
"Genius Genes" to be Named in Three Months, Says Chinese "Wunderkind"by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 20th, 2013BGI, the Chinese gene-sequencing behemoth, is working with Stephen Hsu and Robert Plomin in an attempt to identify genes for intelligence.
How Soon Is Now? Prenatal Tests Racing from Theory to Practice by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 5th, 2013The rapid development and deployment of non-invasive prenatal genetic tests may be outstripping the ability of society to respond to them.
Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?by Philip Bethge and Johann GrolleDer SpiegelJanuary 18th, 2013The English translation of the interview in which George Church of Harvard University explains how genetic technology and synthetic biology might permit the creation of a Neanderthal-like clone that could be gestated by a woman.
Fetal Genome Screening Could Prove TragicScientific AmericanJanuary 18th, 2013Parents will soon be able to have their fetus' genes mapped. Without proper guidance, they might decide to end the pregnancy based on a misguided reading of the genetic tea leaves.
"Adventurous Female Human" Needed to Give Birth to NeandertalGenome WebJanuary 17th, 2013Harvard's George Church on recreating Neandertals, engineering humans to live to 120, making people resistant to viruses, and exchanging DNA with other species.
A Rebuttal to Mark Lynas’ GMO Reversalby Jason MarkEarth Island JournalJanuary 11th, 2013Organic farmer, writer, and environmental policy advocate delves into Lynas' rationale for turning pro-GMO and finds scientific, environmental, economic, and social reasons not to agree.
Eric Hoffman on a Very Discreet Newcomer: Synthetic Biologyby Eric HoffmanA World of ScienceJanuary 11th, 2013An interview on the dangers of synthetic biology published in UNESCO's Natural Sciences Sector's quarterly journal.
Biotech's 10 Biggest PR Disasters of 2012GMWatchDecember 31st, 20122012 was the year the lights came up on the biotech industry. Its claims, its tactics and its products all came under scrutiny and some of its biggest PR fairytales bit the dust. Here are some prime examples.
Brave New Cells?by Donna DickensonProject SyndicateDecember 29th, 2012Supporters of mitochondria replacement neglect a crucial factor in the debate: the techniques being developed involve permanent genetic alterations passed on to future generations.
FDA Moves Closer to Approval of GMO Fish, Critics Outragedby Carey GillamReutersDecember 21st, 2012A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat.
Year of the Fetusby Beth Marie MoleThe ScientistDecember 18th, 20122012 saw the introduction of a handful of non-invasive genetic prenatal tests, but the young industry faces growing pains as legal and ethical questions loom.
Anatomy of a Webpage: A Peek into a Possible Genetic Futureby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 11th, 2012A biotech start-up wants to use a "proprietary algorithm" to provide information about hypothetical children.
New Business Plans for the Direct-to-Consumer Gene Testing Industry? by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 9th, 2012The direct-to-consumer gene testing industry is still evolving, and searching for ways to profit.
Genome Sequencing For Babies Brings Knowledge And Conflictsby Rob SteinNPRDecember 3rd, 2012Sequencing an individual's genome at birth would enable doctors to screen for far more genetic conditions than they do now, but what do parents do with all the information?
Embryos for Sale: When You Want Them, How You Want Them, or Your Money Backby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 28th, 2012A California fertility clinic is using “desirable” sperm and eggs to create batches of embryos that it then splits among multiple infertile couples.
Selecting Against Disease[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Urmila RamakrishnanFin MagazineNovember 26th, 2012Although we may not have control over the end of the world, genetic counseling and selection will give us power to manipulate the quality and extent of individual lives.
Mitochondria Replacement Would Forever Alter the Human Germline. Do You Want a Say? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 15th, 2012The Center for Genetics and Society has sent a letter strongly recommending against changing the United Kingdom law that – like those in dozens of other countries – prohibits procedures that would alter the genes we pass on to our children.
Anatomy of a Webpage, Part 3: Selling “Peace of Mind”by George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 13th, 2012New developments in prenatal tests are triggering aggressive - and often misleading - marketing. Thankfully, there are signs of push-back from a society that is learning that people are more than their syndromes.
Of Yeast Genes and Tinker Toysby Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 31st, 2012A recently published paper sounds a serious warning to those who want to tinker around with human genes.
Genetic Breakthrough at OHSU[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Allison FrostOregon Public RadioOctober 29th, 2012Researchers in Oregon have created a viable human embryo by combining genetic material from two women's eggs, raising safety and ethical questions.
Geneticists Breach Ethical Taboo By Changing Genes Across Generations[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPROctober 24th, 2012Geneticists reported Wednesday that they had crossed a threshold long considered off-limits: They have made changes in human DNA that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
Anatomy of a Webpage, Part 2: Preconception Servicesby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 17th, 2012People living with genetic diseases become medicalized abstractions of risk and defect in the slick marketing of fetal gene tests. More than a matter of semantics, such simplification has negative consequences for all.
We are More Than the Sum of our Genesby Stella YoungRamp UpOctober 9th, 2012As a disabled feminist, I'm often asked about my views on medical procedures like pre-natal screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
New Director's Experience a Plus for MSU, but his Controversial Views Concern Someby Matthew MillerLansing State JournalOctober 6th, 2012The newly appointed vice president of research at Michigan State University holds controversial views about genes and intelligence.
Prenatal Test Presents Dilemmas to Expectant Mothersby Maureen SalamonUS NewsSeptember 28th, 2012Some women label information about fetal chromosomal abnormalities "toxic knowledge" they wish they hadn't received, a small new study shows.
Anatomy of a Webpage: Marketing Fetal Gene Tests and Sequenom’s MaterniT21by George EstreichBiopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 24th, 2012In the age of genomics, whole-chromosome conditions are only the beginning. Our ability to sample fetal DNA from maternal blood means that not only Down syndrome, but before long any condition with a genetic component, any “risk,” can be forecast.
More Questions on Fetal Gene Testsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesSeptember 20th, 2012Harriet Washington considers the anxiety and dilemmas that new prenatal testing may bring.
How To Buy A Daughter[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky] HuffPost LiveSeptember 18th, 2012Gender selection procedures make up a $100 million per year industry. But are women embracing a new reproductive freedom or paying for risky, high-tech eugenics?
How To Buy a Daughter: Choosing the sex of your baby has become a multimillion-dollar industry[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jasmeet SidhuSlateSeptember 14th, 2012The US is one of the few countries that allows preimplantation genetic diagnosis for prenatal sex selection, which could have negative consequences for parents and children alike.
Bioethicist Pushes Us Toward Our Eugenic Dutyby Anna Hamilton, Biopolitical Times Guest ContributorSeptember 6th, 2012A professor of ethics takes his campaign for "breeding better babies" to the Reader's Digest.
Health Ministry to Expand Pregnant Women's Genetic Testing Subsidies by Yaron KelnerYNet NewsAugust 31st, 2012A new initiative in Israel will subsidize advanced genetic testing for pregnant women, providing prenatal diagnosis of genetic abnormalities.
European Rights Court Raps Italy on Embryo Screeningby Gilbert ReilhacReutersAugust 28th, 2012The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Italy violated the rights of a couple carrying cystic fibrosis by preventing them from screening in vitro fertilization embryos.
British Couples Flying to US For Banned Baby Sex Selectionby  Stephen AdamsTelegraph [UK]August 28th, 2012Dozens of couples are flying to the US every year to choose the sex of their babies, a practice banned in Britain three years ago.
Synthetic 'Upgrade' for Fruit Fly's DNA by Linda GeddesNew ScientistAugust 13th, 2012The genetic code of the fruit fly Drosophila has been hacked into, allowing it to make proteins with properties that don't exist in the natural world.
As Prices for Prenatal Genome Sequencing Tests Fall, Researchers Worry About Consequences for Families in a Real-Life 'Gattaca' by Makini BriceMedical DailyAugust 13th, 2012Genome sequencing of fetuses would drastically increase the volume and scope of prenatal data, but its meaning would be unclear.
Researcher Accused of Misleading Pregnant Women by Sara ReardonNew ScientistAugust 9th, 2012A doctor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine has been prescribing a controversial drug to pregnant women to treat a rare genetic disorder in female fetuses.
Clinical Trial Is Favorable for a Prenatal Gene Testby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesAugust 8th, 2012A new method of prenatal testing that can detect more genetic problems in a fetus than ever before could be headed toward wider use after encouraging results from a clinical trial.
Changes for India’s ART Industry?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 6th, 2012The recent death of a surrogate in India, along with new information about the 2010 death of a 17-year-old who had repeatedly sold her eggs, have built support for regulation of assisted reproduction. A draft bill would provide some safeguards, but Indian women’s health advocates say other provisions “leave much to be desired.”
Rolling the Dice of a Genetic Legacyby Ellen Painter DollarThe New York TimesJuly 20th, 2012A mother with brittle bone disease chooses to accept that risk for her children.
More Couples Seek to Select Child Gender / 90 Couples Went to Thailand for Diagnosis in '12by The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Daily Yomiuri July 17th, 2012At least 90 Japanese couples have traveled to Thailand to receive preimplantation diagnosis for sex selection purposes this year, a procedure not allowed in Japan.
India Suspends Doctors Over Banned Fetal 'Sex Tests'Daily NewsJuly 17th, 2012Twelve Indian doctors have been suspended for allegedly conducting prenatal sex tests, a practice banned to stop the abortion of female fetuses that has widened India's gender gap.
Euroscience Open Forum 2012: DNA Gene Testing 'Will Screen Out Lovers'by Telegraph ReportersThe TelegraphJuly 13th, 2012A British professor has suggested that couples will soon be able to choose their life partner solely based on the compatibility of their genes instead of through love.
Conflict Potential Seen in Genetic Counselorsby Andrew PollackNew York TimesJuly 13th, 2012Is it ethical for genetic counselors, who advise patients on whether to undergo testing, to be paid by the companies that perform the tests?
One of Five Million: Contemplating Fertility Treatment and Embryo Selectionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 12th, 2012Five million people have been born using in vitro fertilization. Though the technology has become safer and less expensive, it warrants attention because of the open door it provides for embryo selection.
Fetal Genome Blood Test: Lots of Issues, Scientists Sayby Rosie MestelLos Angeles TimesJuly 6th, 2012The ability to extract the fetal genome from the blood of the mother raises a plethora of new ethical concerns.
Couples Use IVF to Pick Genesby Julia MedewThe AgeJuly 3rd, 2012Fertile women with genes that predispose them to breast and ovarian cancers are using preimplantation genetic diagnosis to select embryos without the genes.
Fetal Tests Spur Legal BattleA newborn industry based on non-invasive genetic testing turns combativeby Erika Check HaydenNatureJune 27th, 2012Genetic tests that analyze fetal DNA from a pregnant woman's blood are arriving in a rush. Their commercialization has already spurred a tangled legal battle.
Judge Says Montana Parents Can Sue Over Lack of Genetic Testingby The Associated PressGreat Falls TribuneJune 21st, 2012A Montana couple who say they would have aborted their pregnancy if they knew the child would be born with cystic fibrosis are suing their healthcare providers for not conducting a more thorough genetic screening.
Designer Babies in Popular Cultureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012The Whitest Kids U’Know’s comedic parody of genetic counseling is reminiscent of a similar scene in GATTACA.
Nuffield Council Gives Green Light to the Prevention of Inherited Mitochondrial Diseaseby Antony Blackburn-StarzaBioNewsJune 12th, 2012The UK-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics has declared that the benefits of new techniques which aim to prevent the transmission of faulty mtDNA from mother to child outweigh any risks.
Genetic Screening of Unborn Babies 'May be Inaccurate'by Nick CollinsThe Telegraph (UK)June 7th, 2012The blood test that may be used to routinely screen foetuses for more than 3,000 genetic conditions raises "many ethical questions" and is not a clear indicator of how severe a disability may be.
UW Researchers Map DNA of Fetus from Mom's Blood[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sandi DoughtonThe Seattle TimesJune 6th, 2012Researchers have mapped the entire genome of an 18-week old fetus using only a blood sample from the mother and a saliva sample from the father.
DNA Blueprint for Fetus Built Using Tests of Parents[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJune 6th, 2012Using only a blood sample from the pregnant woman and a saliva specimen from the father, researchers explain that “Our capacity to generate data is outstripping our ability to interpret it in ways that are useful to physicians and patients.”
Gene Test Results to Be Passed on Without Consentby Anna PattySydney Morning HeraldMay 30th, 2012If passed, a new law in the Australian state of New South Wales would require doctors to inform a patient's close relatives of genetic dispositions towards specific diseases, even if the patient wishes to keep the information private.
Genomic Medicine Stumbles Forwardby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2012Recent reports that all of us have large numbers of rare genetic variants complicate the prospects for therapies.
The Real Chen Guangcheng Story: Forced Abortion, Eugenics, and the One-Child Policyby Daniel SharpBiopolitical TimesMay 16th, 2012Amidst focus on the domestic and international political aspects of the Chen Guangcheng affair, the media have missed the real issue: forced abortion and forced sterilization in China.
Will Gattaca Come True?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Mara HvistendahlSlateApril 27th, 2012Noninvasive, early fetal tests for sex, paternity, and chromosomal conditions will change pregnancy dramatically — and raise tricky ethical questions.
Baby Sex Selection Ad Targets Indo-Canadiansby Annie Burns-PieperCBC NewsApril 17th, 2012A Washington-based fertility clinic is advertising sex selection services - "Create the Family You Want: Boy or Girl" - in a Canadian newspaper that targets South Asian communities.
Genetic April Foolery on NPR and in The Economistby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2012The mainstream media is increasingly getting into the April Fools game. This year featured at least two established news organizations suddenly finding a sense of humor and using genetic technologies to, at least for one day, betray their loyal readers’ trust.
Bioengineer Humans to Tackle Climate Change, Say Philosophersby Leo HickmanGuardianMarch 14th, 2012The authors of a controversial recommendation say their critics have misunderstood the nature of philosophical inquiry.
The Plot to Create Britain’s Super Raceby Jonathan FreedlandThe Telegraph [UK]February 12th, 2012Yale University has been accused of trying to create a super race of British children during World War Two.
Unnatural Selection: Is Evolving Reproductive Technology Ushering in a New Age of Eugenics? [Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Carolyn AbrahamThe Globe and MailJanuary 7th, 2012Modern day assisted reproduction offers a whole new approach to baby-making, one that gives people an unprecedented power to preview, and pick, the genetic traits of their children.
Errors During PGD Testing Raise Wrongful Conception Concerns [Quote CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Krystina SteffenSEO Legal NewsDecember 15th, 2011The booming industry of PGD allows would-be parents to avoid passing on certain genetic traits. However, users should be wary of false results, and increased regulation may be necessary.
Genetic Testing for Down Syndrome: What It Can and Cannot Tell You by Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesNovember 10th, 2011Sequenom's new genetic test predicts the presence of Down syndrome at an earlier stage in pregnancy, but parents need more information to accompany the diagnosis.
Sex Selection Game-Changer? New Fetal Gene Test Reveals Sex at 7 Weeksby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesNovember 9th, 2011New non-invasive prenatal testing will enable parents to know a fetus's sex, Down's status, and possibly other traits dramatically earlier in a pregnancy.
The quest for the perfect babyby Meir BrezisHaaretz [Israel]Should parents be able to sue doctors for failing to prevent the birth of a child with a defect? That is a question facing the [Israeli] Supreme Court, which has been asked to recognize 'wrongful birth.'
Turning 40, Going Globalby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 28th, 2011Born in Boston, Our Bodies, Ourselves has become an international force for women's rights.
A California Fertility Clinic Promotes High-Tech Sex Selectionby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 22nd, 2011High-tech methods legitimize sex selection in general, and serve as a rhetorical door-opener for the prospect of selecting other traits.
Embryo testing stokes concern over designer babiesby Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia NewsMontreal GazetteSeptember 19th, 2011The era of designer babies may be closer than most people think, one of Canada’s leading figures in reproductive medicine is warning.
Sperm Bank Turns Down Redheadsby Richard OrangeTelegraph [UK]September 16th, 2011Cryos, the world's largest sperm bank located in Denmark, has started turning down redheaded donors because there is too little demand for their sperm.
Sex Selection: Not only Asia’s Problem, Says Council of Europe by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesSeptember 15th, 2011A committee of the Council of Europe approved a draft resolution and recommendations for addressing the growing problem of sex selection in Europe.
Pro-choice women's health and public interest advocates voice concerns regarding fetal gene tests for sex and trait selectionAugust 22nd, 2011Tests raise concerns about the well-being of children, women and families and the prospect of testing for additional traits other than sex.
Boy or Girl? Down Syndrome? What to Expect When You’re Testing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Susan GilbertBioethics ForumAugust 11th, 2011For decades, doctors and expectant parents have wondered if “one day” there will be a “simple blood test” for prenatal testing. That day is almost here. But the implications are anything but simple.
Test Can Tell Fetal Sex at 7 Weeks, Study Saysby Pam BelluckNew York TimesAugust 9th, 2011A simple blood test can determine a baby’s sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy. Will it encourage the more ethically controversial step of selecting the sex of children?
Unnatural Selection [Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ilana YurkiewiczScience ProgressJuly 18th, 2011Is Prenatal Testing A Triumph for Reproductive Freedom—or Brazen Discrimination?
Council for Responsible Genetics Explores New Fetal Gene Test Methodby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesJuly 6th, 2011A recent report by the Council for Responsible Genetics assesses non-invasive prenatal genetic diagnosis and emerging ethical questions.
Americans Prefer Sons To Daughters, Survey FindsHuffington PostJune 24th, 2011If Americans could have only one child, they would prefer that it be a boy rather than a girl, by a 40% to 28% margin, with the rest having no preference or no opinion on the matter.
X-Men Recharge: People in the Margin or Powers on a Pedestal?by Brendan ParentBiopolitical TimesJune 22nd, 2011Last week's release of 'X-Men: First Class" may be cause for questioning the whole premise of the X-Men series: Would people marked by genetic advantages actually experience group discrimination?
Could prenatal DNA testing open Pandora's box?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Malcolm RitterThe Associated PressJune 12th, 2011Some ethics experts say it's time to start talking now about what early-pregnancy fetal gene tests could mean for parents and society.
Comfort or conflict: Earlier Down syndrome testby Malcolm RitterSan Francisco ChronicleJune 11th, 2011Companies are racing to market a blood test that could detect Down syndrome very early in pregnancy.
New GeneWatch Issue: Bioengineering Animalsby Emily StehrBiopolitical TimesJune 8th, 2011The new issue of GeneWatch explores the ethics of designing animals' traits.
The Consequence of Unnatural Selection: 160 Million Missing Girlsby Marcy DarnovskyMs. Magazine BlogJune 6th, 2011Mara Hvistendahl's new book provides a deeper understanding of sex selection around the world and makes an urgent case for confronting it.
Dreams of the Weekby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 18th, 2011Several recent announcements and studies appear to presage renewed interest in manipulating the biology that is thought to control longevity and especially our children's happiness and intelligence.
One Step Closer to Designer BabiesNew Noninvasive Prenatal Genetic Testing Could Change Human Pregnancy Foreverby Marcy DarnovskyScience ProgressApril 22nd, 2011A new approach to testing the genes of early-stage fetuses could radically alter the experience of pregnancy and parenting from as early as five weeks, leading to a potentially dangerous moral quandary.
Genetic counselors help patients understand DNA issuesby Eryn BrownLos Angeles TimesApril 18th, 2011The job isn't wildly lucrative — the average starting salary in 2010 was $63,712, according to the National Society of Genetic Counselors — but practitioners say they love it.
A Campaign Against Girls in Indiaby Nilanjana S. RoyThe New York TimesApril 13th, 2011Women’s groups have been documenting this particular brand of gender violence for years.
Pre-pregnancy genetic screening backed by government advisers[United Kingdom]by James MeikleThe Guardian (UK)April 6th, 2011Tests will allow couples or individuals to assess their own risk of carrying genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
Identical Twins Are Genetically Differentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2011Researchers looking for a genetic basis for schizophrenia report that monozygotic twins, always assumed to be genetically identical, in fact have different DNA.
Gene of the Week: Christianityby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 1st, 2011Gay scientists are reported to have isolate the 'Christian gene' and to have successfully removed it from experimental rats.
New film depicts a genetically engineered, anti-gay future by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 17th, 2011Nisha Ganatra’s Beholder depicts a future in which children are genetically designed and homosexuality is screened out of the population.
How far would YOU go to choose the sex of your child?by Julie MoultThe Daily Mail (UK)March 16th, 2011Sex selection is banned in Britain. But as this disturbing investigation reveals, thousands of couples get around the law by going abroad to pre-select their baby's sex.
Babies with THREE parents and free of genetic disease could soon be born using controversial IVF technique[United Kingdom]by David DerbyshireThe Daily MailMarch 12th, 2011But the new IVF technique raises questions and concerns.
IVF odds of success are decent; twin births still commonby Shari RoanLos Angeles Times March 7th, 2011Only 7.2% of women under age 35 opted for a single-embryo transfer in 2009, up from 5.2% in 2008. In 2003, the rate was 0.7%.
Local eugenics past and present: A rare self-examinationby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2010Many gathered at U of Alberta to re-examine the history and modern implications of local eugenic sterilization.
Time to Stop Burying Our Eugenic Historiesby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2010Reductionist reports of a woman's recent lawsuit against the state for forcible sterilization indicate a fading consciousness of our society's recent eugenic past.
Nobel Award for IVF Sparks Speculationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 7th, 2010The Nobel Prize awarded to Robert Edwards, for developing IVF, provoked some disturbing speculation.
The Genetic Gist of JIMby Jillian TheilBiopolitical TimesOctober 7th, 2010A new independent film with a timeless message.
International Survey of ART Releasedby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 23rd, 2010The International Federation of Fertility Societies has just released Surveillance 2010, the 5th edition of a triennial global survey of the assisted reproduction industry.
'Savior sibling' raises a decade of life-and-death questionsby Josephine MarcottyStar TribuneSeptember 22nd, 2010The method used to save Molly Nash's life is mainstream now, but the larger ethical issues are as urgent as ever.
The Great Gene Hunt (cont'd)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 3rd, 2010Accurate reporting and headlines should not be noteworthy, but when it comes to genetics they are -- and Reuters got one right.
Oh, No, It's a Girl! South Asians Flock to Sex-Selection Clinics in U.S.[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Viji SundaramNew America MediaAugust 31st, 2010For those with roots in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, sex selection is often not freely chosen.
Top IVF doctor defends offering help for parents to pick babies' sexby Lisa AdamsDaily RecordJuly 29th, 2010MEET the doctor who is making Scots' dreams of designing the perfect baby come true.
Conservation and Eugenics: The environmental movement's dirty secret[Commentary]by Charles WohlforthOrion MagazineOrion Magazine, whose mission is "serious thinking on the deeper connection between the environment and social and political issues," has published a thoughtful essay tracing the roots of environmentalism back to a very unpleasant historical truth.
Sometimes Beautiful People Do Unattractive Thingsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 23rd, 2010Beautifulpeople.com is taking the designer gamete market to a whole new level by using its online dating service as a vehicle for people to find sperm from attractive donors so that they can presumably have beautiful children.
Dating Site Creates Online Sperm and Egg Bankby Jessica RamirezNewsweekJune 21st, 2010Who doesn’t love a pretty baby? According to one company, the better question might be who doesn’t want one?
Caveat Emptor, Caveat Spittor by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 14th, 2010Direct-to-consumer genetic tests are bad medicine. And what of their societal implications?
A Real-Life Version of “My Sister’s Keeper”by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 6th, 2010"The Match" is an emotionally compelling and thought-provoking account of a family's decision to create a genetically matched baby to treat their sick daughter.
3-Parent Embryos Could Prevent Disease, But Raise Ethical Issues [Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Brandon KeimWired ScienceApril 14th, 2010Mitochondrial swapping might seem less controversial than regular genetic engineering, because it involves metabolism rather than obvious physical traits. "On the other hand, when embryo manipulations for heritable changes start being done, even with the best intentions, we're on slippery ground," said Darnovsky.
Gene testing spurs decline of some dire diseasesby Marilynn MarchioneAssociated PressFebruary 19th, 2010Some inherited diseases appear to be declining, and a few have nearly disappeared, because more people are using genetic testing to decide whether to have children.
Eugenics fear as British couples are offered £700 online gene test for 100 inherited diseasesby Fiona MacRaeThe Daily MailFebruary 9th, 2010Experts warned that a simple test to stop couples from passing on genetic diseases to their children was unnecessary and could lead to 'back door eugenics'.
Whither Personal Genomics?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2010Three companies offer contrasting examples of where the fledgling industry goes from here.
Embryos destroyed for "minor" disordersby Lois RogersThe TelegraphJanuary 24th, 2010UK fertility regulators are allowing doctors to screen out embryos that could lead full lives despite having a genetic condition.
Nudging the Discourse?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2010The Popular Mechanics article misleadingly titled "How to Create a Designer Baby" includes a call for regulation of assisted reproduction.
Demand for 'designer babies' to grow dramaticallyby Mark HendersonThe TimesJanuary 7th, 2010Parental demand for “designer babies” screened to lack faulty genes will grow dramatically over the next decade, a leading geneticist has predicted.
IVF websites often mum on embryo gene test risksby Anne HardingReutersOctober 14th, 2009Fertility clinic websites aren't doing a great job of explaining the risks of genetically testing an embryo before it's implanted in the womb, researchers found.
GATTACA Comes to Baseballby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2009Major League Baseball has been using DNA tests on prospects from the Dominican Republic.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis May Pose Neurological RisksMedical News TodayJuly 23rd, 2009A new long-term analysis of PGD in mice suggests that it may increase risks of weight gain and memory decline in adulthood.
Other uses for laboratory-produced sperm?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJuly 13th, 2009Advances in laboratory-produced sperm--if perfected--could also be used for other purposes, including troubling ones.
Healthy Embryos Show Chromosome Flawsby Nora SchultzTechnology ReviewJuly 8th, 2009A study involving higher-resolution genetic screening suggests that PGD often falsely identifies early embryos as unhealthy.
Genetic 'MoT' for disease free babiesby Kate DevlinThe TelegraphJune 30th, 2009A genetic test which can help IVF couples screen embryos for hereditary diseases and have healthy babies could be available within a year.
Pro-choice questions about abortion for sex selection and disabilityby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesJune 24th, 2009Former Catholics for Choice president Frances Kissling urges pro-choicers to confront tough issues.
Eugenics and Genetic Screeningby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 20th, 2009A new report raises the specter of eugenics from a libertarian perspective.
Scientific American on Regulating Designer-baby Technologies by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 8th, 2009The editors of one of the most prestigious American popular science magazines call for greater oversight of the baby business.
The Need to Regulate "Designer Babies"[Editorial]Scientific AmericanApril 30th, 2009Scientific American magazine argues that more oversight is needed to prevent misuse of new reproductive technologies.
Answering Questions With Questionsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 23rd, 2009The future of genomics is now the subject of serious debate, with enormous implications for genomic medicine.
Parents 'refused genetic tests'by Clare MurphyBBC NewsApril 22nd, 2009Children are being born with severe genetic abnormalities because their parents are being refused funding to screen their embryos, those working in the field have claimed.
Countries with laws or policies on sex selection [PDF]by Marcy DarnovskyApril 16th, 2009This memo contains a chart showing the 37 countries that have adopted national policies on sex selection, and excerpts from six countries' policies.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill 2008A Commentaryby David KingApril 15th, 2009The director of Human Genetics Alert offers an analysis of the UK's new law governing human genetic and reproductive technologies.
Voluntary isn't workingRecent events show need for regulation of assisted reproductionby Marcy DarnovskyModern HealthcareApril 13th, 2009Responsible regulation and oversight will protect fertility patients and bolster public trust in the enterprise of assisted reproduction.
23andMe Targets Mommies-to-Beby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesApril 1st, 2009The personal genomics company's new target is pregnant women. Are early-stage fetuses next?
Genetic embryo screening: Questions grow along with number of proceduresby Laurie GoeringChicago TribuneMarch 25th, 2009Figuring out the ethical and regulatory guidelines for checking embryos for genetic conditions is proving difficult.
Preventing the Next Fertility Clinic Scandalby Jesse ReynoldsBioethics ForumMarch 13th, 2009What was remarkable about the reaction to two recent IVF controversies was the chorus of agreement that it’s time to leave the "Wild West" days of assisted reproduction behind.
Osagie Obasogie on the Jeff Farias Show [MP3 audio]by Jeff FariasThe Jeff Farias ShowMarch 10th, 2009A discussion about race and human biotechnology on a talk radio program
Designer Babies [MP3 audio][Features CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Michael KrasnyKQED ForumMarch 10th, 2009Is there a legal and ethical infrastructure in place to govern 'designer babies'?
Designer Baby’ Offer to Screen Embryos For Eye, Hair, Skin Pigmentation Dropped[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Joyce E. CutlerThe Bureau of National AffairsMarch 4th, 2009A fertility clinic in California has withdrawn its plan to offer prospective parents so-called designer babies through genetic screening of embryos for eye and hair color and skin pigmentation.
Forget Designer Baby Bags—Now There’s Designer Babies[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Madeline EllisHealth NewsMarch 4th, 2009Questions of the limits of reproductive technology were raised after the a fertility clinic announced plans to allow prospective parents to choose the gender, eye, hair, skin color, and other physical traits of their babies.
Fertility doc backs off on custom kidsUnited Press InternationalMarch 4th, 2009A fertility doctor says he will be limiting his genetics work to dodging diseases rather than customizing physical traits such as hair and eye color.
Public interest group responds to postponement of "designer baby" serviceCenter for Genetics and Society calls for federal oversight, hearingsMarch 4th, 2009"We are encouraged by the near unanimous condemnation of an offer to use an embryo screening technique to select the hair color, eye color, and complexion of future children."
Custom order babies [Video][Features CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CNN Headline NewsMarch 3rd, 2009The news network interviews CGS's associate executive director regarding a fertility clinic's offer to select for a baby's cosmetic traits.
PGD for hair color, eye color, and skin complexion [Video][Features CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Fox News ChannelMarch 3rd, 2009The Fox News Channel interviews CGS's associate executive director in this segment on "designer babies."
California fertility doctor’s offer of trait selection stirs ethical questions[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Laura BauerKansas City StarMarch 3rd, 2009Hype or help, the medical ethics community and other fertility specialists are aghast at this brave new world.
Public interest group calls for Congressional hearings on fertility industryIn wake of octuplets and “designer babies” controversies, Center for Genetics and Society says oversight is overdueMarch 3rd, 2009"For too long, America has had an unfortunate reputation as the 'Wild West' of the fertility industry – and that image has been reinforced by recent controversies."
Special deliveries: Are designer babies arriving? [With video][Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Mike CelizicThe TODAY ShowMarch 3rd, 2009The news that a California fertility clinic is offering prospective parents the opportunity to improve the odds of having children with preselected hair, skin and eye color has renewed the debate over “designer babies.”
Bioethicist and industry spokesman on the baby businessby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMarch 3rd, 2009Bioethicist Art Caplan cites profit and eugenics, and calls for regulation. The ASRM's Sean Tipton cites parental choice.
Designer baby row over US clinicBBC NewsMarch 2nd, 2009A US clinic has sparked controversy by offering would-be parents the chance to select traits like the eye and hair colour of their offspring.
Designer baby row over clinic that offers eye, skin and hair colour[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Philip SherwellThe TelegraphFebruary 28th, 2009A Los Angeles clinic is offering the ultimate in designer babies. Want a son with brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion? Or a pale-skinned, blonde, green-eyed daughter?
"Racial alchemy" - for real?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 26th, 2009Until now, hypothetical discussions of embryo screening for eye and skin color have seemed distant.
New Safety, New Concerns In Tests for Down Syndromeby Rob SteinWashington PostFebruary 24th, 2009"We have a history in this country of a eugenics movement where people tried to eliminate certain people from the gene pool. People could start wondering, 'How did you get born?'"
Select a baby's health, not eye color[Commentary]by Allen GoldbergLos Angeles Times February 17th, 2009Clinics offering to create designer babies may turn people against a procedure that can save lives.
Color ID: Screening embryos for eye, hair, and skin color[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by William SaletanSlateFebruary 17th, 2009Trait selection is being offered by a Los Angeles fertility clinic. Is this another assisted reproduction service we'll get used to?
Custom-Designed Kids: How Darwin's Legacy Is Being Abusedby Jesse ReynoldsAlterNetFebruary 12th, 2009Two contentious conversations about genes and society continue to haunt America.
A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles -- Hold the Colic[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gautam NaikWall Street JournalFebruary 12th, 2009Laboratory Techniques That Screen for Diseases in Embryos Are Now Being Offered to Create Designer Children
Unnatural selection: How far will parents go?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Marlowe HoodAgence France-PresseFebruary 8th, 2009Will genetic selection alter the evolutionary path of humans?
Clinic lets parents choose baby's complexionby Danny RoseAustralian Associated PressFebruary 1st, 2009Australians are visiting a US fertility clinic that allows them to choose not only the sex of their child, but features such as hair color, eye color, and complexion.
Fetal DNA Test Sheds Light, But Stirs an Ethical Battleby Todd AckermanHouston ChronicleDecember 21st, 2008Baylor College of Medicine is at the forefront of new DNA testing that screens fetuses for hundreds of genetic abnormalities — testing touted for diagnosing previously undetectable disorders but sparking debate because it's sure to result in more abortions.
Baby Selected To Be Free From Breast Cancer Geneby Kate DevlinTelegraphDecember 19th, 2008The first baby in Britain genetically screened to be free from a potentially deadly breast cancer gene will be born next week.
Known Unknownsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 2nd, 2008As more anomalies are reported, it seems that we know less and less about more and more -- and scientifically, this is a good thing.
Picking the Best Babyby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesDecember 2nd, 2008With the price of genetic sequencing plummeting, technologies enabling prospective parents and clinicians to pick the genetically "best" potential child may become feasible.
Prenatal Test Has Promise, Study Shows by Gautum NaikWall Street JournalNovember 29th, 2008Scientists are designing noninvasive tests that can tell whether a fetus suffers from inherited disorders
Gene testing of embryos needs guidingExperts caution against use of tests for adult-onset disordersby Erika Check HaydenNatureNovember 19th, 2008The prospect of using the technologies sold by personal-genomics companies to choose the genetic make-up of their children raises controversy
Last Second Shotby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesNovember 17th, 2008ESPN recently ran a web feature story and televised segment (see below) on NBA All- Star forward Carlos Boozer and his son’s struggle with sickle cell anemia.
Sarah Palin, Down syndrome, and the abortion debateby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2008Two commentaries explain how we can – and should – take prenatal genetic selection out of the abortion debate.
Designer babies: Creating the perfect child[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes]by Mike SteereCNNOctober 30th, 2008The Center for Genetics and Society is trying to encourage debate on the topic of genetic selection as soon as possible. Executive director of the organization, Richard Hayes, told CNN that in most countries, the public is missing out on taking part in the debate.
Fresh Hopes and Concerns as Fetal DNA Tests Advance by Rob SteinWashington PostOctober 26th, 2008Powerful new DNA tests screen fetuses for a wider range of genetic abnormalities. They have triggered complaints that they mark another step toward a society that seeks to weed out aberrations in the quest for the perfect child.
Finding the Faulty Gene: Embryology Test That Could Kill Off Inherited Illnessesby Mark HendersonThe TimesOctober 24th, 2008With a fresh approach, known as karyomapping, doctors will be able to offer preimplantation genetic diagnosis to couples affected even by very rare conditions, on a much faster timescale than is possible at present.
The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act [PDF]October 16th, 2008The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, co-sponsored by Senators Kennedy and Brownback and signed into law in October 2008, is a positive step toward providing better information and support to pregnant women and new mothers whose fetus or newborn is diagnosed with a disability. This information sheet highlights the Act’s benefits and identifies some of the issues to monitor in its implementation.
Experts Fear Potential Abuses of Genetic Screening[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Beth WhitehouseNewsdayJuly 18th, 2008Will parents use embryo selection technology to select a child's characteristics the way you can pick the options on a car?
Kiwis consider sex selectionby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJune 20th, 2008The New Zealand Bioethics Council recommended allowing prospective parents to use sex selection through PGD for family balancing.
Is Sex Necessary for Reproduction?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Bernadette TanseySan Francisco ChronicleJune 1st, 2008The in vitro fertilization industry, which originated in the 1980s as a solution for infertile couples, has actively sought to expand its market scope by tapping social trends and collaborating with researchers in genetics and stem cell technology.
Dutch Cabinet Crisis Averted... For NowJust a storm in a test tube?by RNW's Dutch serviceRadio Netherlands WorldwideMay 31st, 2008Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's fourth cabinet has narrowly avoided its first internal crisis caused by the domestic practice of carrying out tests for certain genetic defects on embryos during IVF treatment.
MPs Reject 'Saviour Sibling' BanBBC NewsMay 23rd, 2008A bid to stop parents having "saviour siblings" - babies selected to provide genetic material for seriously ill relatives - has been defeated by the United Kingdom Parliament.
Robert Winston on the UK's fertility billby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 13th, 2008Assisted reproduction pioneer Lord Robert Winston had some surprising words about the UK's controversial bill to overhaul its oversight of the reproduction industry and stem cell research.
Embryo research: a source of hope or horror?by Roger HighfieldThe Telegraph (UK)May 9th, 2008As the United Kingdom Parliament prepares to debate a Bill revising the law on embryo research, Telegraph Science Editor Roger Highfield examines the complex issues at stake.
Sex selection: On sale hereby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 24th, 2008A discount offer - on an ethically sketchy and unnecessary invasive procedure.
Couples Could Win Right to Select Deaf Babyby Richard GrayTelegraphApril 14th, 2008Deaf couples could be allowed to use embryo-screening technology and choose to have a deaf child, after an amendment to a controversial bill to overhaul the UK's oversight of ARTs.
Is it wrong to select a deaf embryo?by Clare MurphyBBC NewsMarch 10th, 2008New fertility legislation will make it illegal to use embryos with a known genetic abnormality in IVF treatment when ones without the same defect are available.
Deaf demand right to designer deaf childrenby Sarah-Kate TempletonThe Times (UK)December 23rd, 2007Deaf parents should be allowed to screen their embryos so they can pick a deaf child over one that has all its senses intact, according to the chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People.
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