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associations.188 For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) has addressed genetic enhancement, stating that it should generally be reserved only for therapeutic purposes and finding that enhancement to improve human traits is “contrary... to the ethical tradition of medicine.”189 The AMA has also found genetic selection for nondisease related traits to be unethical, stating that all procreative and gene therapies should be to “alleviate human suffering and disease by remedying disorders for which available therapies are not satisfactory.”190 Similarly, the World Medical Association has stated that physicians who provide assisted reproductive services “should always consider their ethical responsibilities toward any child who may be born as a result of the treatment” and that treatment should not be provided if serious harm to the child will result.191 Of course, despite the dim view that these professional associations take toward nontherapeutic uses of ART, only the willingness to enforce professional sanctions might prevent physicians who disagree with the associations’ views from utilizing PGD to enable parents to procure disabled children. Unfortunately, as the anecdotes referenced earlier make clear, that threat has not so far prevented isolated efforts.192 Lastly, there is the option of relying upon self-regulation on the part of prospective parents193 (an option that may be inevitable if constitutional challenges to the regulation of PGD are successful). This is simply another way of expressing reliance upon the belief that parents are better at deciding what is in their child’s best interest than
AM. MED. ASS’N, AMA CODE OF MEDICAL ETHICS: CURRENT OPINIONS WITH ANNOTATIONS, 2006Gene Therapy, available at http://www.amaassn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/Code_of_Med_Eth/opinion/opinion211.html.
World Medical Association, The World Medical Association Statement on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, at Preamble (adopted Oct. 2006), available at http://www.wma.net/e/policy/r3.htm.
See supra Part I.A.
See McConnell, supra note 49, at 60.
any other societal entity, including courts or legislatures. The viability of this notion seems premised on whether or not society is willing to tolerate the minority of parents who might not be acting in their child’s best interests or who act based on a flawed understanding of their child’s best interests in bringing disabled children into the world.194
As this Article has demonstrated, there are a variety of rationales that would support the regulation of PGD to prevent cases of intentional diminishment and a variety of means by which such regulation could be carried out. ART have provided great hope to individuals who would otherwise be unable to bear children. The study of the human genome has revealed great wonders about human diversity and holds the key to the eradication of dreaded genetic diseases. But, these technologies also give individuals the means to write their parental preferences into the DNA of their children. A survey of the issues reveals that society has a compelling interest in regulating the use of PGD to prevent intentional diminishment. This interest is premised on the need to act in the best interests of future children by protecting them from the harm that follows from being born disabled as a result of an exercise of their parents’ procreative preferences. But, whether the legislation necessary to further such interests would survive a constitutional challenge cannot be clear until legislation is passed by the states that specifically proscribes certain uses of PGD. For now, it seems the real effort lies in educating the public about the potential pitfalls of unregulated use of PGD so as to encourage reasoned debate over which uses are and are not appropriate and to avoid any regulatory overreactions that might follow after learning how the technology has already been put to
use. Only with such education and debate can society determine the amount of protection that we should accord children born from these procedures, the right of parents to utilize these procedures to further their procreative interests, and the potential consequences of