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The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority have recently granted a licence to perform preimplanation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for the homozygous form of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), explicitly excluding its use for the heterozygous form. The grounds for such decisions centre on how serious a condition is thought to be as well as on the availability of effective treatment, and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The case for licensing homozygous FH is discussed and compared with other cases, and the case for making a distinction between PGD for homozygous and heterozygous FH is also examined. Testing for homozygous FH raises difficult issues of non-disclosure of results for heterozygous FH. Fears that this decision may represent a ‘slippery slope’ to more widespread testing are argued to be overstated.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Ethics


SAGE Publications

Publication Date





145 - 148