Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe

Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe – In almost every way, the 2-year-old is his mom’s dream. He likes to play with cars and trucks. He is happy to entertain others. And he is strong-willed: he knows what he likes and what he wants.

The boy carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene that increases his risk of breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer. His parents knew about it when he was just a frozen fetus. But faced with a choice between transferring the embryo to her womb or not having a biological child, Samantha, along with her wife, Jessie, chose the former.

Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe


Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe

“There’s a part of me that feels selfish, humble, self-conscious, like I shouldn’t have had it this bad or I shouldn’t have gone this far,” said Samantha, who has the BRCA mutation and Provide yourself. eggs for pregnancy. (STAT is using pseudonyms for the women to keep their son’s medical information private.)

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Jesse and Samantha’s story speaks to an emerging ethical morass in the field of reproductive medicine: what to do when patients want to get pregnant embryos with DNA that can cause disease or disability. Should doctors’ desire to help their patients overcome concerns about harming their children? And what about cases in which patients — like Samantha and Jesse — ended up with only one viable embryo through in vitro fertilization?

As Dr. Siegel Klipstein, a reproductive endocrinologist at InVia Fertility in the Chicago area, put it: “Am I going to have this baby with this disorder or no baby at all?”

The issue also raises a broader puzzle ethics and experts are trying to grapple with as genetic testing moves out of the lab and into the hands of more consumers. People have access to more information about their genes — or, in this case, about the genes of their potential offspring — than ever before. But having that information doesn’t mean it can be used to inform real-life decisions.

A test can tell prospective parents that their fetal cells have an abnormal number of chromosomes, for example, but it can’t tell them what kinds of developmental delays their child might have, or Will the embryo transfer to the uterus lead to pregnancy? at all. Families and therapists are looking into five-day-old cells like crystal balls, finding light about what can last a lifetime. Plus, the test can be inaccurate.

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“This is a problem that the rapidly growing field of genetics faces every day, and it’s no different with genes than when someone is searching,” said Judith Darr, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. Biologist and Clinical Professor, Irvine, School of Medicine. “We’ve learned a lot, and the technology is amazing and can be predictive and accurate, but we’re probably at a very nascent stage of understanding what the impact of genetic findings is on health.”

Preimplantation genetic testing, or PGT, emerged in the 1990s as a way to study the DNA of embryos before they are transferred to the womb, and the technology has evolved over time. Federal data shows it has been used in about 5 percent of IVF procedures over the years, but many experts have put the figure as high as 20 or 30 percent.

In these cases, deciding whether or not to transfer an embryo requires weighing what a clinician is comfortable doing, as well as what the prospective parent or parents want — and the couple doesn’t always agree. There’s also a third party to consider, one that at that point is just a frozen bundle of sales with no agency.

Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe

In interviews, a dozen experts from around the country stressed that requests for embryo transfer with genetic abnormalities are rare. In the vast majority of cases, patients who want genetic testing on their fetuses are doing so to choose one with a healthy number of chromosomes or to avoid a genetic disease that runs in their families. And if all the embryos created through IVF have genetic defects, many women – depending on their age and financial situation – can go through another cycle.

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But experts also say they’re seeing more patients asking for genetic testing on their embryos, which means requests for transfers that involve moral turpitude may become more common.

“This is a growing field,” Klipstein said. “There’s more awareness that you can test the fetus. There is more screening of patients who are thinking about parenthood. The range of diseases that are available for testing is increasing. Ethical issues are raised to an extent because some diseases are considered to have a greater impact on health than others. So where do you draw the line?”

In a paper published earlier this year, Darr, Klipstein, and their colleagues highlighted all the angles and investigations of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s ethics committee involving embryo transfer with fetal abnormalities: patient autonomy. , rights and well-being of children. , and clinical selection of them. Their purpose was to provide at least a basis for how to think about problems.

Although there are no US regulations for these cases, some countries have stepped in. In the UK, for example, doctors cannot abnormally transfer embryos that cause serious illness or disability, unless there are other viable embryos.

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The circumstances in these cases vary widely, but in some, doctors should not transfer the embryo, the committee wrote. Examples include when mutations seem to warrant life-threatening conditions or severe disabilities from an early age. Many physicians also say that they generally will not transfer an embryo with an abnormal number of chromosomes; These embryos are more likely to fail to implant or miscarry than to be born, and any children born will have a range of physical and mental disabilities.

“Physician assistance in embryo transfer in this category is ethically challenging and therefore highly discouraged,” Ethic wrote.

“The technology is amazing and can be predictive and accurate, but we’re probably at a very nascent stage of understanding what the impact of genetic findings is on health.”

Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe

Some people, often because of their religious beliefs, think that every embryo should be given a chance to transfer.

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And in other cases, patients may want to choose an embryo with a specific genetic trait. Mostly, experts say, this happens in cases of patients who are deaf or deaf and want to have children with the same characteristics. Such examples illustrate the criticality of making decisions about what is acceptable in reproductive medicine and what is not.

Some people in the deaf and hard of hearing communities, for example, have their DNA described as “genetic abnormalities” and the idea that they are disabled to avoid their characteristics. Others question why people with severe disabilities are abandoned instead of accepted. In an email, Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf, stressed the importance of “reproductive freedom” — that deaf parents who want to use reproductive technology to carry deaf children should have that right. .

The ethics committee said that in situations in which the child is expected to be born with a curable disease or manageable condition, doctors have the right to transfer the embryo as ethically correct. But, the committee wrote, the clinic should also be able to refuse such a patient’s request. Doctors will often agree to transfer the embryos to other clinics in these cases.

“It’s not a black-and-white issue,” said Dr. Mark Sauer, a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the ethics committee. “You have diseases that are universally accepted to be so terribly inheritable that most people – not all – would agree not to be transmitted. But more generally there are capital regions.

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When she was trying to conceive four years ago, Samantha learned that a relative carried a BRCA mutation, but she was so focused on having a baby that she ignored the initial news. But when another relative found out she also had the mutation, Samantha agreed to be tested. She was in her late 30s, and at least one relative had died of ovarian cancer in her early 40s.

Samantha found out she had the mutation in November 2013, and her doctors told her that with her family history, she needed to have her uterus removed before she could get pregnant. First, though, she went through the acquisition of three fingers over the course of four months.

While working with an IVF specialist, Jesse and Samantha sometimes questioned how far they were willing to go to have a child, and just how technical getting pregnant was. Jesse’s preference was to have Samantha remove her ovaries, but Samantha felt the urge to get pregnant, so the two had to go ahead with the procedure.

Genetic Testing And Health Insurance Coverage: Ethical And Legal Implications In Europe

“There was a lot of information, and it was a lot, and a lot of it was science,” Jesse said. “We were both like deer in the headlights.

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Samantha had just created something

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