Carriers of a inherited condition have to make many difficult decisions including what to do if they want children. In this activity students are placed in the role of a couple who are carriers of beta thalassaemia major. They are guided through how to make a difficult ethical decision and are introduced to IVF and the technology of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
- Explain how IVF with PGD can be used to help a couple with an inherited condition to have a healthy child.
- Recognise ethical, social and economic arguments and use them to make an informed choice.
Try the activity
England National Curriculum KS3:
- Working Scientifically: Make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
- Biology: Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes: heredity as the process by which genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next. Reproduction: reproduction in humans (as an example of a mammal), including…gametes, fertilisation.
GCSE Combined Science subject content:
- Working Scientifically: Development of scientific thinking: explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
- Biology: Inheritance: explain single gene inheritance, predict the results of single gene crosses.
Running the activity
Engage 1 Students get into role and learn about the options from a genetic counsellor
Explore 1 Simulation on choosing an option using goal-based ethics
Explore 2 Using duty-based ethics to explore the issues surrounding IVF with PGD
Explore 3 Students use the decision making lifeline to explore the social and economic factors
Explain Using discussion to make a personal decision
Evaluate Students make their decision
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.
A video clip which shows what it is like for a young child to have beta thalassaemia major.
Meet the couple
Video clip where the couple introduce themselves and explain why they are visiting a genetic counsellor.
Meet the counsellor
The genetic counsellor goes through the options open to the couple in order to have another child.
What is IVF with PGD?
Alison Lashwood, a PGD specialist explains what IVF with PGD involves.
How do you make a difficult ethical decision?
Allison Streetly, OBE and Director of the NHS Screening Programme introduces ways of making ethical decisions.
Freedom to choose
Allison Streetly discusses the ethical principle ‘Freedom to choose’.
Rights of the child
Allison Streetly discusses the ethical principle ‘Rights of the child’.
Allison Streetly discusses the ethical principle ‘Playing God’.
Social and economic factors
Alison Lashwood discusses the social and economic factors surrounding the decision to use IVF with PGD.