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"Genetic test 'prunes' bad family genes"

Vancouver Sun

Source: Vancouver Sun

Published: 05 Oct 2021

Category: Diagnostic Test

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The human embryos are three days old when technicians at the Genesis Fertility Centre place them under a microscope and ever so gently extract two cells from the tiny clumps of burgeoning life. Secured in a travelling case, the cells are then rushed to Detroit for gene testing, while the biopsied embryos -- and their anxious parents -- stay put in British Columbia.
The results are back within 48 hours, says Dr. Albert Yuzpe, co-director of Genesis. And they determine which embryos live and which die.
The Vancouver centre is one of several Canadian fertility clinics offering the controversial test known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.
The testing can determine, based on the analysis of a single cell, which embryos carry gene mutations and defects, including those associated with such debilitating inherited diseases as Tay Sachs (which causes a fatal degeneration of the central nervous system), hemophilia and cystic fibrosis.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 9
Availability of Test Satisfactory
Novelty of Test Not Satisfactory
Diagnostic Options Not Satisfactory
Disease Mongering Satisfactory
Evidence Not Satisfactory
Quantification of Diagnostic Accuracy/Benefits Not Satisfactory
Costs of Testing Satisfactory
Harms of Testing Not Satisfactory
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This article relies heavily on sources who work for commercial testing facilities who are obviously biased in favour of the genetic testing. Although a Health Canada document is referenced it would have been useful to include some consumer advocates in the dialogue.
Also there is a paucity of evidence used in this article. We have no idea how accurate or specific these tests are or whether there is any good evidence supporting their use. It would have been helpful if the journalist had said that the evidence is limited.

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