Britain’s Stance on the Genetic Editing of Human Embryos and Its Potential to Inhibit and/or Exacerbate Disparities in Inequalities Surrounding Assisted Reproduction

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Amarpreet KAUR, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Disease and disability can be argued to remain at the root of many social inequalities (Shakespeare, 2013). Biotechnologies such as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, alongside prenatal diagnostic testing have been repeatedly contended to assist in aiming to alleviate the potential for humans to be born with preventable genetic conditions, most especially those which have been proven to be highly debilitating (Franklin and Roberts, 2006; HFEA, 2017). Whilst such diagnostic tests have been revolutionary in assisting reproductive choices, they have remained fairly bespoke to access in Britain, particularly to individuals/couples who are not economically wealthy. Within the current confines of available assistive reproductive technologies in Britain, my research suggests that disparities and inequalities surrounding access to biotechnologies in relation to reproduction are unlikely to diminish. However, as transformative technologies such as genetic editing continue to develop globally, the possibility of greater initiatives to bridge such disparities may be forced to emerge. My research indicates that a far greater and more unified appreciation of assistive reproductive technologies may materialise with the hypothetical introduction of genetic editing to reproductive choices. Thus, in response to prophesised societal pressures, a highly plausible future in which access to genetic editing is desired and fought for may initiate a demand for more equalised access to assistive reproductive technologies. In this context, my paper draws upon my own research to discuss the potential genetic editing could have on inhibiting and/or exacerbating inequalities in accessing technologies which could transform the lives of individuals/couples living with a genetic condition in Britain.