After tragedy, couple uses genetic screening to have healthy babies

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  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 4, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    This story and the resulting comments suggest that having a good PR department behind you can do wonders for how your actions are viewed.

  • RickChappell Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 3, 2014 10:52 p.m.

    I'd suggest there is no slippery slope here at all. We've jumped down the well. We talk about screening like we can fix the defect and help a child grow healthy and happily. That's not what is happening. This is specifically fertilizing an egg, evaluating the resulting embryo to see if there are any defects, and then killing (or at least letting die) the embryo. The only difference is this is in the test tube rather than in the womb.
    Why stop at birth defects? Why not ensure you only have blue eyes? and maybe blond hair? THat fact that scientists do it doesn't change the ethics.
    Can we spell Eugenics?

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Sept. 3, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    Yes, science in the service of "man," and in this case with good intentions and to a good end.
    The problem comes from two other aspects of this technology. First is the question of whether this science in the service of "God?" I don't pretend to know, but I am sure that it is a good question to be asking one's self and discussing as a society.
    The second is that this same technology can be perverted to evil. By that I mean eugenics. Selecting for gender, hair color, or any number of other physical aspects of a human that really are best left to God (or chance, or natural selection).
    I am thankful for modern obstetrics that allows for the lives of some mothers and/or children to be saved in some circumstances. Conversely, I am saddened by the fairly routine use of some of those same techniques to end pregnancies that should have either been carried to term or prevented by prudent family planing practices and/or chaste behavior. The techniques discussed in this article come with the same double edged sword regarding their application.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Sept. 3, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    I have no qualms at all about using medicine to help bring about the birth of a child in a healthy body.

    If I can use medicine to determine that an embryo, etc has a destructive/maladaptive gene and then also use that same science to correct it, I would do that in an instant.

    Yes, I know that life is supposed to be full of struggles, and I believe in the wisdom of God in making life that way. However, there are PLENTLY of struggles to be had/much learning to experience even in a healthy body.

    I say that with confidence in part because of what the Book of Mormon says Jesus did when He appeared to the Nephites. It says that Jesus healed their sick, their lame, those that were infirm and ill. It specifically said He healed them ALL. Not one that was ill or sick or weak or deformed or somehow struggling with a weak and wounded body was ignored or left to themselves. He had compassion on them and healed them ALL. Go read the account for yourself.

    Modern medicine in and of itself is one of the true miracles of God.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Sept. 3, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    I see a potential "slippery slope" here--and I speak as someone with a birth defedct that can get you aborted these days. Thank goodness I was born before people thought they had a right to do that.

  • Mrs. Joe TOOELE, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    I'm not comfortable judging this couple for wanting more children. I had two miscarriages, and it was devastating, so I can't even imagine losing a baby at 41 days after birth. They may have felt their family was incomplete after the loss - something that can't be understood without having experienced it.

    Is it a slippery slope? Yes, but as long as science hasn't started sliding, good for the doctors involved and congratulations to the family.

  • sshoaf indianapolis, IN
    Sept. 3, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    A part of me truly goes out to these parents who just wanted a healthy child, but it still seems like playing God. And every time I see people spend so much energy and money on in vitro fertilization I think, "Why aren't they adopting?" Maybe God is trying to tell them that children don't have to be biological to make a family. Why do people keep trying to have their own when there are so many children out there who need homes? Adoption is also difficult and expensive, but it makes a huge difference to a child who needs a home. And if people keep pursuing these alternatives, especially to the extreme as some do, that's just one more child left in an orphanage.

  • RSL* Why, AZ
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    This reminds me in a way of the movie GATTACA. Soon we will advance enough to choose to eliminate genetic diseases making sure they have the correct amount of chromosomes. Choose height and eye color and many other things.

  • Sanpete in Utah Fairview, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    This article is misleadingly written to support the view of its author, something his editor should have caught. I have no objection to the procedure. I object to the poor journalistic practice to support a bias.

    Though the article is inexcusably vague about it, it appears the procedure described is the conventional one in which fertilized eggs are screened, and some are destroyed. As any doctor should know, the proper medical term for a fertilized egg is zygote or embryo, not just egg. It's no longer just an egg after it's been fertilized, no more than it would be just the sperm that fertilized it.

    The article not only fails to call the embryo what it is, and to be clear that embryos are destroyed, but it fails to clearly explain why the procedure is controversial. "Playing God" doesn't specify the particular objection to the procedure, that it terminates a form of life regarded by many, with some reason, as a human or person.

    The article is written in a way to build sympathy for the couple who made this choice without due clarity about and attention to the important issues their actions raise. Poorly done.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    Ranch: As always, your arguments are disingenuous.

    A) There is a difference between destroying a fertilized egg in a test tube where it has no chance to progress, and destroying a fertilized egg in a uterus.

    B) Hobby Lobby's issue was not with contraception - keeping an egg from being fertilized - something the LDS Church by the way has no issue with - as you well know, but with having to provide morning after drugs that destroy a viable embryo within a uterus. The latter were lumped in with the former under Obamacare, and the US Supreme Court saw fit to make a distinction. Obviously, you are smarter than they.

    C) Who are you to say two is plenty? This is a question to be settled between a couple and God.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    @I know it. I Live it. I Love it. – “They are removing a bad gene the way you remove a bad tumor.”

    And how is this different than what Richard Dawkins opined about a few days ago with respect to downs syndrome?

    If we understand Dawkins to have meant the gene that causes downs syndrome is a genetic mistake or “bad gene” and if technology can screen out the gene prior to implantation in the womb (Dawkins admittedly was talking about abortion), how would that be any different than what these parents are doing?

    Personally I see nothing wrong with it but I have no idea how the pro-life purists can square the apparent contradictions here.

    @J-TX – “"Viable embryos" are only viable if implanted in a mother's womb,”

    Haven’t we been lectured for the last two years on this very issue and how it is “abhorrent” and “destroying life” and how the Obama Administration is the moral equivalent of the Nazis for forcing religious employers to include drugs that do this in their health plans?

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    To equate the procedure that produced the healthy twins with abortion is far fetched. The same thinking would label a woman's physiology that chooses and rejects sperm killing the unwanted and a woman who has an ovary removed after several life threatening cysts as forms of abortion. Kudos to the Doctor and his staff who made this family dream possible and affordable.

    Sept. 3, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Interesting how many people are pro-choice when they consider it the "right" choice.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 8:14 a.m.


    Contraceptive simply prevent an embryo from implanting in the womb. Why should Hobby Lobby, then, get to call them abortifacients if your comment is correct? Double standard?

    "I don't think it's a function of playing God," Foulk said. "I think it's a function of using the tools God has given us."

    Same way LGBT couples can have kids, yet the DN opposes LGBT couples rights. Hypocrites.

    This couple got a new set of babies; good for them. I do wonder, like K why they needed more than two kids though. Two is plenty.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Sept. 3, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    They wanted to have children, raise them, love them.

    They did not want to prevent children, kill them, throw them away.

    They did not abort live fetuses as a convenience, which happens 2 million times a year in this country.

    "Viable embryos" are only viable if implanted in a mother's womb, which the others were not. To call them aborted children is wrong.

    Those with judgement issues should be talking to their bishops.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Sept. 3, 2014 6:36 a.m.

    I think most people's squeamishness comes from the obvious slippery slope. My wife and I have talked about this to possibly screen out some genetic issues that cause her severe migraines and severe seizures for several of her cousins. I think everyone can agree with taking something like that. Similarly my family has a history of heart problems that I'd like to avoid passing on.

    I can't get cavities, my wife can. Would it be too much to make sure the kids have my teeth shape? It'll probably save me a lot of money through the years. Probably a grey area.

    Taller people do better in business, would it be wrong to make sure our kids get the tallest combinations of genes? I think the last option most people would call too much,

    It's not always clear cut and I can definitely see why some people are uncomfortable with the idea of screening. Congrats to the family in the article though, great to see this tech used for a great purpose.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Sept. 3, 2014 6:32 a.m.

    It sounds like they screen the eggs before making making an embryo just to destroy it if it shows the condition. That part seems fine. The morally questionable part is what do they do with the remaining embryos if they stop before using all that were created. And the mistakes the medical place makes. A case with the wrong kids implanted had the mothers having to give the children to their bio parents and her using a surrogate. She could have terminated which would have been awful for the parents. The parents also suffered with their children in the hands of strangers for months during the pregnancy. They had healthy children at home. Was it that important to have more than 2?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 3, 2014 6:24 a.m.

    "After biopsies screen out eggs with genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, at least two healthy eggs are returned to the mother."

    I completely understand and support what this family has done in an attempt to have more healthy children.

    But, we are talking about "screening out" fertilized eggs. Or, in other words, embryos.

    This certainly constitutes a woman's (family's) right to choose.

    For the abortion purists, this would be a conundrum. And it occurs frequently in fertility clinics.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Sept. 3, 2014 4:23 a.m.

    Let us call it as it is. This couple aborted embryos. This is a gross sin in the eyes of those who oppose abortion, since it is alleged that life begins at conception. To be honest, fundamentalist religionists should condemn these people.

    Personally, given what this couple knows about their genetic predisposition, I think they followed the reasonable course of action. No child should be brought into the world who we know will not survive, much less thrive. However, the harsh truth that must be faced is this. Abortion is sometimes the only viable option that parents have to make. And people of good faith can use whatever rationalizations available, but it is sometimes necessary. In this case, it was the only viable option.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:58 p.m.

    This is science in the service of man. Events like this convince me things are not hopeless and that mankind has a future.

  • 1Reader Sunnyvale, CA
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:01 p.m.

    This is the future, and it's a miracle. This enables life and families--and better health.

  • Julie gluten free mother SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:18 p.m.

    The wrong or right of this is difficult to decide. Personally I see a lot of right. I can't imagine taking the chance of losing another baby if the possibilities are high. At least this way babies were brought into the world with loving parents who would not have had the same chance without the help.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 5:46 p.m.

    I disagree with the doctor and Danny, but in an agreeable way.

    The question of 'playing God' isn't new. But I think people will treat this as exactly that either way. The question that doesn't get asked is if we should.

    God has given us power and intellect so that we can make choices. He doesn't make our choices for us. God can build a boat or command a man to build a boat. Either has the function of us acting according to the powers he has allowed us to have. The proper question then is whether we are using our abilities to serve Him or not. We were instructed to multiply and replenish the Earth. This couple's actions are simply allowing them to answer that. They aren't building an Ayran society. They are removing a bad gene the way you remove a bad tumor.

    The birth of a child isn't wrong. I think most people know that. We're a bit off-put by the Hollywood freak-show films we see. But that bares no resemblance to the children being born and the families that love them.