Opinions about new reproductive genetic technologies: Hopes and fears for our genetic future

Andrea L. Kalfoglou, Teresa Doksum, Barbara Bernhardt, Gail Geller, Lisa LeRoy, Debra J.H. Mathews, John H. Evans, David J. Doukas, Nancy Reame, Joan Scott, Kathy Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify underlying beliefs and values shaping Americans' opinions about the appropriate use of new reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs), including preimplantation genetic diagnosis, hypothetical genetic modification, and sperm sorting for sex selection. Design: Scenarios with ethical dilemmas presented to 21 focus groups organized by sex, race/ethnicity, religion, age, education, and parental status. Setting: A city in each state: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee. Participant(s): One hundred and eighty-one paid volunteers, ages 18 to 68. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Beliefs and values that shape participants' opinions about the appropriate use of new RGTs. Result(s): Regardless of demographic characteristics, focus group participants considered six key factors when determining the appropriateness of using RGTs: [1] whether embryos would be destroyed; [2] the nature of the disease or trait being avoided or sought; [3] technological control over "natural" reproduction; [4] the value of suffering, disability, and difference; [5] the importance of having genetically related children; and [6] the kind of future people desire or fear. Conclusion(s): Public opinions about the appropriate use of RGTs are shaped by numerous complementary and conflicting values beyond classic abortion arguments. Clinicians and policy-makers have the opportunity to consider these opinions when creating messages and crafting policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1612-1621
Number of pages10
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Focus groups
  • Genetic modification
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
  • Public opinion
  • Qualitative research
  • Reproductive genetics
  • Sex selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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