Testing embryos for deadly diseases

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
Did you know there

There's a growing trend not only for chromosome testing, but what's called genetic diagnosis - when embryos can be tested for potentially deadly diseases.

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (WOAI) - Did you know there's a way to find out if your child could develop cancer one day before they're even born?

With the recent advancement of genetic testing, it's possible. WOAI spoke with a doctor who's able to tell would-be parents just how healthy or unhealthy their child may be before they ever reach the womb.

There's a growing trend not only for chromosome testing, but what's called genetic diagnosis - when embryos can be tested for potentially deadly diseases.

"The biggies are breast cancer, BRCA 1 and 2," said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, the medical director at Fertility Institutes out of Los Angeles. "If a woman's mother had breast cancer, grandmother had breast cancer, sister had breast cancer, they better screen for it."

Couples can have their embryos tested for cancers common in men, too, like colon cancer, prostate cancer and certain types of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Steinberg says they have a menu of nearly 3,000 diseases for which an embryo can be tested, which is why parents are screened first to find out which diseases their child may be at risk for the most.

"We help them narrow it down and we narrow it down and narrow it down until we get to the few things that might be vital for them to know," said Dr. Steinberg.

Genetic testing cannot determine eye color, hair color, height or if a child will grow up to be an athlete, which is a request he says he hears from celebrities all the time.

Which, he says, is something that cannot be determined. But for the parents who are truly concerned about the health and well-being of their baby, genetic diagnosis can be a blessing and a curse.

If a test does come back positive for a disease, the parents have to decide whether to transfer the embryo into the mom or discard it.

"I think if a patient is experiencing some problem, like carrying a BRCA gene, and they know what it's like to constantly worry and agonize about their health, then it makes sense for them to not want their child to suffer, too," explained Dr. Summer James with Texas Fertility Clinic SA.

Read More at: http://news4sanantonio.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/testing-embryos-deadly-diseases-13452.shtml


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
KGNS-TV 120 W. Del Mar Blvd., Laredo, TX 78041 Fax: 956-267-8649 News Hotline: 956-723-5161 956.727.8888 email8@pro8news.com
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 266430221 - kgns.tv/a?a=266430221
Gray Television, Inc.