Genetic testing of embryos

December 12, 2003

The confluence of advances in human genetics and reproductive science has resulted in the ability to perform genetic tests on embryos produced by in vitro fertilization. Embryos found to be free of a disease-causing gene mutation can then be selectively implanted into a woman's womb to initiate a pregnancy. The technique, called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), can help parents avoid the birth of a child with a devastating genetic disease or avoid prenatal genetic testing and subsequent pregnancy termination if a fetus is found to carry the gene mutation. PGD can also be used to select the sex or other genetic characteristics of embryos. PGD is giving parents profound new power to identify and select the genetic characteristics of their children. Is this a power parents should have? Should there be limits to its uses? Are current regulations and oversight sufficient?

The John Hopkins University Genetics and Public Policy Center is convening a diverse panel of thought leaders to discuss the ethical, social, and scientific implications of this potent new technology. Please join us.

Register at (see Events)

Thursday, January 8, 2004
9 -11 a.m. EST

Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel
999 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Carole Simpson
Anchor, World News Tonight Sunday, and Emmy Award-winning Senior Correspondent for ABC News, Washington

Newt Gingrich
President, The Gingrich Group
Former Speaker of the House

Laurie Strongin Goldberg
Family Representative

Amy Laura Hall
Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics, School of Divinity
Duke University

Bernadine Healy, Columnist and White House Advisor
Former President & CEO of the American Red Cross and NIH Director

Tom Murray
President, Hastings Center

John Podesta
President, Center for American Progress
Former Clinton Chief of Staff

Joe Leigh Simpson
Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Professor, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine
The Genetics and Public Policy Center is an independent and objective source of information and analysis on genetic technologies and policies. It is part of The Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University and is funded through a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Visit the Center online at For more information about The Genetic and Public Policy Center please direct inquires to 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 530 Washington, DC or call 202-663-5971.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

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