The debate about the latest advance will reopen many debates that are familiar in reproductive science. When can abortion be justified? What do we mean by “normal”, and how far from genetic norms ”“ whatever they are – does the DNA of an unborn child have to stray before a pregnancy can be terminated?
Can it be right to abort a foetus at risk of a disease that will only strike in middle age or old age? One of the pioneers of the field, Dr Dennis Lo, has said it would not be ethical to screen for like Alzheimer’s or cardiovascular illnesses. But once the technical issues have been ironed out in the next few years, that could become routine.