The Legal and Ethical Standards of Reproductive Genetics

The Legal and Ethical Standards of Reproductive Genetics, National Science Centre SONATA BIS grant (2014-2017) director: dr Marta Soniewicka




The research project entitled “Legal and ethical standards of reproductive genetics” is aimed at undertaking an analysis of existing legal and ethical standards, approved or proposed in clinical genetics with reference to the sphere of human procreation. The main aim of the project is to identify the pivotal ethical concerns aroused in the context of reproductive genetic testing, and to specify the limits of legal intervention in this sphere. In particular, the project aims to develop legal guidelines and ethical standards for reproductive genetics in Poland. Reproductive genetic testing can be understood as predictive genetic testing to assess reproductive risks. One can distinguish three sorts of reproductive genetic testing: (1) preconception testing (carrier testing) – i.e., to identify if a patient is a carrier of a recessive disease gene that can be passed on to successive generations; (2) prenatal diagnosis (of fetal cells, PND) – i.e., to identify all potential future abnormalities of a child; and (3) preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) – i.e., to identify conditions of an embryo formed by in-vitro fertilization. Reproductive genetic testing arouse the most heated and long-lasting controversies on the most intimate sphere of human life – procreation and parenthood. There will be addressed such questions as for instance: genetic selection, genetic enhancement, reproductive rights (access to genetic testing and criteria of making use of genetic information in reproduction), genotype prevention and phenotype prevention in medicine.