Pandora's Petri Dish

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When news of Louise Brown’s birth flashed across the world, the press invented a simple way of describing this progeny: test-tube baby. Short, sweet, alliterative. 25 years later the press still hasn’t come up with a bouncy phrase to describe the brave new IVF technologies like Pre-Implantation Genetic diagnosis, a procedure used to screen embryos for diseases like down’s syndrome.

And if the press is sensationally befuddled, medical ethicists and ordinary folks are still pondering just where science should stop and moral concerns take over. Stuck in the middle of the debate are tens of thousands of couples, desperate for a child, a healthy child of their own. Thoughts on Louise Brown’s 25th Birthday, fertility science at the ethical edge.


Dr. Mark Hughes, Professor Molecular Medicine and Genetics Wayne State University School of Medicine

Dr. Gerard Magill, Executive Director of the Center for Health Care Ethics at St. Louis University

Gweneth and Jeff Berkowitz, patients of Dr. Hughes undergoing PGD/IVF treatment