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A woman from London, who wished to stay anonymous, will give birth to a designer babythis week. This is the first baby to be genetically created free of the breast cancer gene.

The family wanted to eliminate the cancer gene since three generations of women in the husband’s family were diagnosed with the disease in their 20s. If couple would get a baby girl by natural conception, she would be at 80% risk of developing breast cancer.

The woman had her embryos screened and selected those that did not contain the BRCA1 gene. Two out of five embryos have been implanted.
Fertility experts that treated her say that this landmark technique has been clinically improved and developed over the past few years and is now a successful option to couples who carry some kind of genetic abnormality.

Many would call the procedure controversial but these experts believe that screening an embryo to remove the chance of contracting a killer disease was different to creating a child with certain physical characteristics. This was done for medical reasons, to prevent a serious disease. Every woman should be given this option.

Before this procedure was made possible, the women with inherited breast cancer gene used to undergo radical surgeries to remove their breasts.

The procedure that will prevent cancer should not be equated with the unscrupulous one that is set to alter physical characteristics, experts say. They have already been able to design 1,000 babies by using this technique and save them from debilitating diseases such as cystic fibrosis and the neurological Huntington’s disease.

This is a victory for both the parents and the regulatory body that licensed this treatment and those critics calling the treatment ‘gene manipulation’ are ill-advised.

Carrying a faulty breast cancer gene is a complex and very personal issue and all women with a family history of the disease should get appropriate information and support so that they can make the right choice.

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This is wonderful news.
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