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Embryo selection for IVF

Couples undergoing IVF treatment could be given the option to pick the “smartest” embryo within the next 10 years, a leading US scientist has predicted.

Stephen Hsu, senior vice president for research at Michigan State University, said scientific advances mean it will soon be feasible to reliably rank embryos according to potential IQ, posing profound ethical questions for society about whether or not the technology should be adopted.

Hsu’s company, Genomic Prediction, already offers a test aimed at screening out embryos with abnormally low IQ to couples being treated at fertility clinics in the US.

“Accurate IQ predictors will be possible, if not the next five years, the next 10 years certainly,” Hsu told the Guardian. “I predict certain countries will adopt them.”

Genomic Prediction’s tests are not currently available in the UK, but the company is planning to submit an application to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority by the end of the year, initially to offer a test for risk of type 1 diabetes.

The prospect of a new generation of genetically selected babies has prompted concerns about... see more