A decision I’m glad I don’t have to make

There’s been lots of talk in the BRCA community about screening embryos to find the ones without the BRCA mutation.   This is a process called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.  This week, in Britian, a new baby will be born free of the BRCA mutation.  This is so interesting to me, and to be honest, I haven’t really fully developed an opinion.  On the one hand, thank goodness they didn’t do that 37 years ago because where would that leave me?  Yikes.  Yes I went through breast cancer and, no it wasn’t fun, but other than that, life is good.   But I suppose you can’t really think about it that way. 

OK so let’s think about it another way.  BRCA is only one risk factor of many for breast and other cancers.  Yes, it increases your risk substantially but so do lots of things and there’s no way to make sure a baby is born without a gene mutation that we’ve yet to discover.  And what if there are other worse things wrong with the embryo that we don’t even know about yet?  I tend to be a positive person so I’m going to go with the fact that these babies are going to live a long healthy life.  Just like tons of women with BRCA mutations.  And moving forward, diagnostics, screening and prevention of these diseases is only going to get better. 

But I get why someone would choose this option.  In the case of the woman in Britain, every woman on her husband’s side had breast cancer.  And as a woman about to conceive a baby, this can be particularly scary.   So really the bottom line with this post is that, I don’t have a real opinion one way or the other.  And I guess that’s good because this is a personal decision—one that I will fortunately never have to make.  I have my 3 beautiful children–with or without the mutation remains to be seen.    And as I’ve said before the only thing I can and will continue to do every day is to fight against cancer—to do my part so that it isn’t an issue for my children or any future generations.     




Posted on December 23, 2008, in brca, breast cancer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. interesting. i never knew about this. i too am undecided on how i feel about this. its reminds me of the subject on how you can “spin the eggs” to decide and chose what gender baby you want. on one hand…i understand it. on the other…its kind of weird. but isnt that what new technology is all about anyway?

  2. Lorib,

    actually it is “spinning the sperm” to try to get one gender over another (not the eggs) and is usually done with a fairly simple insemination procedure (not a more invasive in vitro one). And it only greatly increases the odds of a specific gender, but it not a gurantee. PDG, is done on embryos after IVF (and can tell the gender of the embryo for sure).

    I am greatful that these decisions for the most part remain personal ones…these are such significant and personal choices. But it isn’t hard to imagine why any parent would want to try and give the child they bring into the world the best start and the best possibility of avoiding serious medical issues they can.

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