‘Designer baby’ free from breast cancer gene

First 'designer baby' conceived won't carry breast cancer gene

The first ‘designer baby’ has been conceived by a British woman and is guaranteed to be free from hereditary breast cancer.

Doctors used controversial screening techniques – known as pre-implantation diagnosis – and rejected six embryos which all tested positive for the cancer gene. They instead opted for ‘healthy’ embryos, guaranteeing the child would not contract the disease.

The woman in question wishes to remain anonymous but is now 14 weeks pregnant with her first child, after being implanted with two of the screened embryos.

She opted for the procedure after her husband tested positive for the gene and his grandmother, mother, sister and cousin have all battled breast cancer.

Critics of the new procedure say it is unethical as healthy embryos are destroyed and fears are that it could lead to the creation of ‘designer babies’, picked for their intelligence and looks.

The couple’s doctor, Paul Serhal, medical director of the Assisted Conception Unit at University College London Hospital, said: ‘Women now have the option of having this treatment to avoid the potentially guilty feeling of passing on this genetic abnormality to a child. This gives us the chance to eradicate this problem in families.’

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