PGD has already helped thousands of couples. And whereas the expansion of PGD around the world has generally been slow, in China, it is starting to explode.
preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a procedure that helps couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) to avoid passing on genetic mutations that could cause disease or disability in their children.
The conditions there are ripe: genetic diseases carry heavy stigma, people with disabilities get very little support and religious and ethical push-back against PGD is almost non-existent. China has also lifted some restrictions on family size and seen a subsequent rise in fertility treatments among older couples. Genetic screening during pregnancy for chromosomal abnormalities linked to maternal age has taken off throughout the country, and many see this as a precursor to wider adoption of PGD.
Comprehensive figures are difficult to come by, but estimates from leading PGD providers show that China’s use of the technique already outpaces that in the United States, and it is growing up to five times faster. Qiao’s clinic alone now performs more procedures with PGD each year than all of the United Kingdom.
Such efforts, for hearing loss in particular, can seem jarring because many people in the West do not consider it a problem to be avoided. In the United States, some deaf couples have used PGD to select for congenital deafness, in an effort to preserve Deaf culture.
Already the procedure is much cheaper in China — about one-third of what it costs in the United States
The two things I think people in the future will look back upon our era in disgust of our barbarism are eating non-synthetic meat, and not screening embryos for genetic diseases when we more than had the chance to. The former will be likened to slavery and the latter compared to anti-vaccination, or perhaps the pre-antibiotic bone-saw infection treatments of old.
Where were you when the West was stagnated by it’s religious and ideological obsessions?