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In vitro fertilisation

In vitro fertilisation is a form of infertility treatment where ova are removed from a woman and fertilised outside of the body by sperm. The resulting zygotes are allowed to develop for a few days before one or at most two embryos are returned to the uterus to implant and develop.

Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering involves changing the DNA of an organism, usually by deleting, inserting or editing a gene to produce desired characteristics.

Gene therapy for diabetes

One of the possible future treatments for type 1 diabetes is gene therapy. Researchers have identified a faulty gene which makes people with the gene more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. In the future, this gene could be replaced by a fully-working version of the gene. This could prevent people from getting diabetes.

In theory, gene therapy could even be used on embryos before they were implanted into the womb during in vitro fertilisation treatment.

Is this a step too far for science or a great leap forward for medicine?


Play the videos to hear these people's views.

Emily's view

Priyanka's view

What do you think about gene therapy?

  • What are the benefits and risks of developing gene therapy?
  • How would you feel if you had a genetic disorder that could not be treated in any other way?
  • Should research into it be allowed or should it be banned?

You can find out more about gene therapy in Genes and Inheritance