Growing up my father would watch 60 minutes every night. It is one of those things you remember from childhood that makes you reminisce, like the way your grandmother’s house smelled or the feeling of Christmas morning. Over the years there have been many changes to 60 minutes and one of my father’s favorite parts about the show recently ended. Andy Rooney’s segment was my Dad’s favorite and it would always make him chuckle. Andy Rooney and my father have both passed on but I can happily say I have some great memories and 60 minutes is still reporting on current news and doing me a solid.
“Playing God or removing disease from your blood line?” was the topic of Sunday night’s 60 minutes. It was a segment on PGD testing and how this amazing test has given people the opportunity to remove devastating diseases from the next generation. Mike and I did PGD testing because we are both carriers of cystic fibrosis, and there is a 1 in 4 chance our child would have CF, a debilitating and ultimately fatal disease.
The truth is, many people do not know if they are a carrier of a mutation until they try to have a child and get tested. We both had no idea and had never given any of this a thought until it became our reality. It’s a tough decision and there are religious as well as ethical arguments that go either way, but for us it was about starting a healthy family and we were going to do what we had to do to make that happen.
When one decides to do PGD testing they are given an option of testing for chromosomal defects (that result in diseases such as Downs syndrome or worse) as well. Mike and I went back and forth on this mainly because it was going to cost an extra $3,000 to get the added testing. Ultimately we chose to do the extra testing and in the long run were happy with that choice. We also chose to test for chromosomal defects because we did not want to go through all of this and then still have a baby with a different, and potentially preventable disease. Of course this testing is not 100% accurate but we have significantly lessened the chances of that happening.
There is an argument that PGD can be taken too far. Along with testing for disease, couples have the ability to choose their child’s hair/eye color or a number of other traits including gender. I personally do not believe in using PGD for these reasons. I feel that PGD should be used to prevent disease and nothing else. Though I do not mean to offend anyone who chooses PGD for those reasons.
I’m happy that 60 minutes has taken the time to address infertility and the struggle so many people face. Assisted reproductive technologies may not be important to some, it may even offend them, but the fact is 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Many of these couples struggle in silence and it’s important to educate the rest of the population.
Dr. Hughes said it perfectly on 60 minutes:
“We all throw genetic dice when we have children. But when you know the dice are loaded and that there’s a really reasonable chance that your baby will have an incurable, dreadful condition, you’re looking for an alternative.”
To view the video or read the article head HERE