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Confessions of a "Genetic Outlaw"

A new method for screening embryos for disease may provide more reason to brand some people dissidents for bringing their kids into the world

Editor's note: this is the first of two perspectives to be published by BusinessWeek.com on preimplantation genetic haplotyping, a new technique for screening embryos for 6,000 inherited diseases

From time to time, we are all confronted with the disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us. I've always seen myself as a responsible, law-abiding citizen. I recycle, I vote, I don't drive a Hummer. But I've come to realize that many in the scientific and medical community view me as grossly irresponsible. Indeed, in the words of Bob Edwards, the scientist who facilitated the birth of England's first test-tube baby, I am a "sinner." A recent book even branded me a "genetic outlaw." My transgression? I am one of the dwindling number of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome and choose not to terminate our pregnancies.