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Are private clinics over-hyping the potential of polygenic risk scores (PRSs) to predict a baby’s future risk of disease?

Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) can give an idea of a person’s risk of developing a specific disease later in life. Increasingly, private fertility clinics are marketing them to prospective parents undergoing IVF as an effective method of selecting the best embryo for transfer. However, there is no evidence that they are useful in predicting disease in postnatal life, nor has there been any research on this. In a paper published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, leading members of the ESHG call for a wide public debate on this practice, and for factual, research-based information to be provided to prospective parents considering undertaking it to enable them to be able to distinguish marketing from counselling.


Speakers included:

Dr Francesca Forzano, Consultant in Clinical Genetics, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London

Prof Markus Perola MD PhD, Research Professor, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Genetics, University of Helsinki  

Prof Maurizio Genuardi, Professor of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at Catholic University, Clinical Geneticist, Director, Medical Genetics Services, “Policlinico Gemelli” University Hospital, and President of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG)

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