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Bioethics Alumna Kira Peikoff on IVF Embryo Testing

In an article she wrote for The New York Times, Kira Peikoff, alumna of the Master of Science in Bioethics program, examines a test done on IVF embryos called preimplantation genetic screening, or P.G.S. The test can detect “mosaic embryos,” or those with both normal and abnormal cells. Approximately 20 percent of embryos tested have mosaicism, which could indicate abnormalities, but about 40 percent of the time result in a healthy birth. The ethical dilemma now is if such embryos should be implanted, and the debate becomes even more complex when the difficulties surrounding IVF are considered, especially if couples do not have any additional viable embryos:

Should would-be parents discard them because they contain abnormalities? Or transfer them in the hopes of achieving a normal pregnancy? “Every research program is fearful of throwing away a healthy embryo, but on the other hand, mosaicism is not always a benign thing,” said Richard Scott, founder and laboratory director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey.

Read the article in its entirety on The New York Times.