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Genetic Screening Now Lets Parents Pick the Healthiest Embryos

Those using IVF can see which embryo is least likely to develop diseases

At 18 months old, Aurea Yenmai Smigrodzki is inquisitive like any other toddler. She likes peanut butter, the beach, and mobile phones—or any toys that look like phones. She likes to copy her mum and dad, Thuy and Rafal, when they are using theirs. Aurea doesn't know it yet, but her birth was very special: She is the world’s first PGT-P baby, meaning she is statistically less likely than the rest of us to develop a genetic disease or disorder throughout her life.

PGT-P stands for preimplantation genetic testing for polygenic disorders. It is conducted in conjunction with IVF and allows prospective parents to actively select which of their own embryos to take, based on the strength of its genes. Rafal and Thuy were given the genetic profiles of five prospective embryos, and Aurea’s was the strongest candidate, because her embryo had the fewest recognizable genetic mutations that could go on to cause disease. “It was really a no-brainer,” says Rafal of the choice he and Thuy made to undergo the genetic screening process. “If you can do something good for your child, you want to do it, right? That’s why people take prenatal vitamins.”

All parents want their children to be healthy, but lots have reason to fear passing on something harmful. Our genes can predispose us to developing all kinds of diseases: diabetes, heart disease, cancers and many more. With this in mind, one could be forgiven for assuming that Rafal or Thuy carried some inheritable condition and wanted to break the chain. But the reality, Rafal admits, is that he “simply knew that PGT-P existed,” and so he decided to give it a try.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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