Catching A Bad Gene

In the Tiniest of Embryos A remarkable procedure takes society into the brave new world ofgenetic screening

PARENTS USED TO HAVE TO WAIT until babies were born to find out if they had tragic birth defects. Then came two breakthrough fetal tests: amniocentesis, which can identify abnormalities in the 15th week of pregnancy; and chorionic villus sampling, which can be performed as early as the tenth week. Neither procedure is without risk, however, and when either succeeds in pinpointing a genetic defect, it forces would-be parents to make a terrible choice: Do they raise a child who might have a serious congenital affliction? Or do they suffer the torment and pain that accompanies an abortion?

Now couples who...

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