Fertile women with a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer, with mutations of genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 are now using IVF to select embryos without the genes to ensure their children are well protected from potentially trouble causing genes.
The technique called as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is quite expensive and is being used to select normal embryos.
Nearly 10 couples had used the procedure for the breast and ovarian cancer genes at well known IVF clinics, Melbourne IVF and Monash IVF.
The medical director of Melbourne IVF, Dr Lyndon Hale, explained that couples may have opted for this procedure to avoid prenatal diagnosis and abortion. ''Cancer is a horrible disease ... so these people want to get rid of it from their family tree,'' he said.
Couples have made use of PGD in Australia to avoid inherited diseases. Using this test for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene does not completely obliterate the risk for children. They will still carry the 10% risk of cancers that all people face.