Aggregated News

Ensuring Your Baby Will Be Healthy: Embryo Screening Test Gains in Popularity and Controversy; Choosing a Child's Gender

Amy Dockser Marcus
The Wall Street Journal
July 25, 2002

At 39 years old, shortly after his son, Jarred, was born, Jeffrey Sowers was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy, a common type of muscular dystrophy. The Sowers had been planning on trying to have another child—until doctors told them there was a 50% chance their children could get the debilitating disease too.

"After that we figured that Jarred would be an only child," says Melanie Sowers, a 38-year-old accountant. "It wasn't worth taking the risk that our children might get sick."

Then the Sowers, who live in Temecula, Calif., found out about a medical procedure that could potentially ensure that any future child they had wouldn't get their father's disease. Called PGD, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the technique requires couples to conceive through invitro fertilization, a common procedure used to combat infertility that unites egg and sperm in a laboratory. But before implanting the resulting embryos in the woman's womb, doctors test...