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An analysis of US fertility centre educational materials suggests that informed consent for preimplantation genetic diagnosis may be inadequate
  1. Michelle Lynne LaBonte
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle Lynne LaBonte, Department of Biological Sciences, Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA; mlabonte{at}

The use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has expanded both in number and scope over the past 2 decades. Initially carried out to avoid the birth of children with severe genetic disease, PGD is now used for a variety of medical and non-medical purposes. While some human studies have concluded that PGD is safe, animal studies and a recent human study suggest that the embryo biopsy procedure may result in neurological problems for the offspring. Given that the long-term safety of PGD has not been clearly established in humans, this study sought to determine how PGD safety is presented to prospective patients by means of a detailed website analysis. The websites of 262 US fertility centres performing PGD were analysed and comments about safety and risk were catalogued. Results of the analysis demonstrated that 78.2% of centre websites did not mention safety or risk of PGD at all. Of the 21.8% of centres that did contain safety or risk information about PGD, 28.1% included statements highlighting the potential risks, 38.6% presented information touting the procedure as safe and 33.3% included statements highlighting potential risks and the overall safety of the procedure. Thus, 86.6% of PGD-performing centres state that PGD is safe and/or fail to disclose any risks on their websites despite the fact that the impact of the procedure on the long-term health of offspring is unproven. This lack of disclosure suggests that informed consent is inadequate; this study examines numerous factors that are likely to inhibit comprehensive discussions of safety.

  • Genetic selection
  • informed consent

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.