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IVF Websites Often Mum on Embryo Gene Test Risks

by Anne Harding,  ABC News,  Oct 14, 2009
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Fertility clinic websites aren't doing a great job of explaining the risks of testing an embryo for genetic disorders before it's implanted in the womb, researchers found.

The procedure, known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), can be used to test for 5,000 different genetic disorders and, more controversially, choose the sex of an infant. But it's not 100-percent reliable, and could, in rare cases, cause harm to the embryo or even destroy it.

Dr. Robert Klitzman of Columbia University and his colleagues took a look at the websites of 83 clinics offering PGD to investigate how fully they explained these risks. Twenty-two of the clinics were based at hospitals or universities, and the rest were private, freestanding clinics.

Just 35 percent of the websites Klitzman and his team surveyed mentioned the possibility that the test could miss the target diagnosis, while only 18 percent mentioned the risk that the procedure could destroy the embryo. Fourteen percent described PGD as "new" or "controversial." Read more.


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