“Act quickly”

Should preimplantation diagnostics be allowed in Germany?? Yes, says the FDP, no, contradicts the coalition partner. Hubert Huppe, the representative for the disabled of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, also considers a limited use of PGD to be dangerous.

It would ultimately require a decision on whether life was worth living or not, the CDU politician said on Friday (29.10.10).

Controversial PGD can detect genetic defects in an embryo created in a test tube before it is placed in the womb. If a genetic defect is diagnosed that would result in severe disability of the child, the embryo could be allowed to die.

The health policy spokesman in the European Parliament, Peter Liese (CDU), also said that a restricted use of PGD would not be practicable. The experience abroad shows that the limitation to illnesses, which lead either to a miscarriage or to an early death of the child after extreme suffering, is not convertible.

"Designer children" and "waste products" for research
Huppe said that the use of the method would create a "designer child", even if unintentionally. It is unavoidable that PGD not only detects diseases, but also additional things, such as the sex of the embryos. But it would then be questionable to withhold this information from parents.

Huppe illustrated this with the example of people of small stature who can use PGD to find out whether their child would be capable of survival. This would also reveal whether the child would be of small or normal stature. According to the Association of People of Small stature, many parents then decided to have a child of small stature, Huppe reported. This is how embryos are selected.

The disability commissioner also sees motives of the proponents in research purposes. Scientists could be interested in the "waste product" of human embryos to conduct research on, Huppe said.

In a landmark ruling in July, the German Federal Court of Justice declared PGD permissible. Therefore, action must be taken quickly now, said Liese. He pleaded for not waiting half a year with a decision. Otherwise facts would be created in hospitals.

The CDU/CSU and FDP had already agreed to release the decision for or against a PGD ban, which means that the MPs may decide independently of the party line. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had recently also spoken out in favor of a ban on PGD.

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