Johns Hopkins University's Genetics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C in cooperation with reproductive medicine society conducted an online survey of 415 fertility clinics, of which 190 responded.
The fertility clinics were supposed to answer about the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, which has been very popular in the last couple of years as a procedure done along with in vitro fertilization. In this procedure, eggs and sperm are mixed, and when implantation occurs, a single cell from an embryo that is three to five days old is taken out for genes’ and chromosomes’ testing.

The clinics were also asked about the purpose of performing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and the answers were startling. Out of every twenty in vitro pregnancies, one couple seeks pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Around 65% of all the PGD performed do it in order to spot abnormalities that would keep the embryo from developing normally and to avoid passing on hereditary diseases. By using PGD procedure, fertility clinics are able to choose the gender of the baby. Although not ethically right and still under debate if it should be allowed, sex selection without any medical reason was done in 9% of all the PGD procedures performed last year.

Couples should be aware that this procedure is not risk-free. It carries risk of over-stimulating the ovaries and causing multiple pregnancies which can be a treat to both children and the mother.

While some doctors find this trend of making designer babies wrong and unethical, there are those who feel that the only thing they are doing is making people happy.