science museum

The future: testing early embryos?

A new technique offers hope to couples at high risk of having a baby with a serious genetic condition. Doctors can now carry out genetic tests on 'test-tube' embryos - embryos produced using IVF (in vitro fertilisation) techniques. Only unaffected embryos are then put back into the mother's womb to continue developing. This technique, known as preimplantation diagnosis, is still in its infancy at the moment, but may one day offer another option to families facing difficult choices.

Human embryo with tiny hole for removal of a cell for genetic testing.
Human embryo with tiny hole for removal of a cell for genetic testing.
Yorgos Nikas/Wellcome Photo Library

Science Museum Home Page Who am I? Science Museum Home Page