Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 8 May 2006 18:10 UK

'I wouldn't have to fear for my child'

Pat Gibor and her daughter Karin Cohn
Karin Cohn (right) inherited a breast cancer gene from her mother Pat

A report from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is to recommend extending embryo checks to look for cancer genes, which make people highly susceptible to certain forms of the disease.

Karin Cohn, from Middlesex, found out last year that she carries the BRCA1 gene - which greatly increases her risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Both her sister and mother have had breast cancer, and there is a long family history of both conditions.

It gives people an option not to have to go through the stress and the anxiety that I've been through
Karin Cohn

Karin, who is in her 30s, has already undergone a preventative double mastectomy to remove her breasts, and she also plans to have her ovaries removed to take away her risk of cancer.

She said she fully supported the proposal to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select embryos which did not carry the cancer gene.

Karin told the BBC: "It's fantastic. It gives people an option not to have to go through the stress and the anxiety that I've been through, making my decision.

"If I had had the option, I would have done it. And I would continue to do it until I got a clear embryo.

"Itwould mean I wouldn't have to worry about my child in the future."

'I feel guilty'

She said she worried for her four-year-old daughter, Sophie, who has a 50/50 chance of also carrying the BRCA1 gene.

"We've been advised to wait until later to have her tested. But it is a worry."

Karin's mother Pat Gibor said she feels responsible for passing the BRCA1 gene on to her daughters.

"I feel guilty. Rationally I know I shouldn't, but emotionally I do."

And she said she too backed the idea of using PGD to select embryos which did not have the cancer susceptibility gene.

"They do step in in other instances, so if it can be done if embryos can be tested for cystic fibrosis or Huntington's disease, I don't see why they can't be tested for the BRCA1 gene."



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