Israeli doctors screen embryos for cancer genes

Monday, February 25, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

An Israeli woman will soon be the first mother in the world to give birth to babies that have been screened and selected as being free of a genetic mutation she carries that increases the chances of cancer in adulthood.

Calling herself "Esther," the 38-year-old woman told The Jerusalem Post that she was in need of in-vitro fertilization anyway because of a defect in her Fallopian tubes that prevented her and her husband from having children naturally.

She decided that if geneticists were already going to artifically inseminate her eggs and select them for implantation, she would give them the opportunity to perform breakthrough testing that would ensure she had not passed on defective BRCA2 genes to the embryos placed in her body.

Defective BRCA2 genes are the leading cause of genetic breast cancer in adults.

Esther said that she can now give birth secure in the knowledge that her children will never have to deal with the condition that has plagued so many in her family. She is due to give birth to boy and girl twins in 13 weeks.

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