Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Association upset over designer babies

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The medical technology used to produce "designer babies", or children meeting the parameters of parental specifications, should instead be utilised for diagnosing medical conditions.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has expressed its disappointment at the use of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis testing techniques, or PGD, to determine a child’s gender, eye colour, musical or athletic abilities.
MMA president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin said in a Press statement that PGD should be used to diagnose serious medical conditions that could cause suffering or impairment of some sort and not for trivial pursuits.
According to the association, PGD is an advanced technology in pre-natal screening, using various techniques like serum screening, molecular tests or ultrasound.
He said the MMA was concerned that many of the screening tests were being offered without proper counselling before hand.
"We support the use of prenatal genetic testing on those who are known to be at risk of carrying an affected child due to family history or previous affected pregnancies," said Dr Teoh.
He was commenting on a story in the New Straits Times recently on the success of the Damansara Women’s Specialist Centre which helped a woman in Ipoh, Perak, to conceive a baby boy using the PGD technology.
Dr Teoh said the MMA was saddened to see such medical advances being trivialised.
"The authorities should come up with guidelines to prevent this country from becoming a haven to such practices," he said.
"Commercial interests should not dictate the development of the medical profession in the country."

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