America’s first IVF baby is pitching a controversial new type of IVF test

America’s first IVF baby is pitching a controversial new type of IVF test

America’s first IVF baby is pitching a controversial new type of IVF test

Handling controversy:  Embryo scores are still hotly debated, with some geneticists calling them unproven and even unethical. Carr notes that IVF itself once attracted similar concerns. “Not to draw a very, very, obvious conclusion from my own life, but it’s really no different, right?” she says. “If you have moral objections to the test or you don’t agree with it, don’t use it.”

Meeting opposition: Recently, a group of experts writing in Science called on the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize Genomic Prediction’s advertising, putting Carr’s work in the spotlight. Carr says she hasn’t heard from the agency.  “I think all opposition is based in fear and lack of understanding,” she says. Once people learn how the tests work, “nine times out of 10, they’re like, okay, this isn’t what I thought it was.”

Predicting intelligence? The same types of scores that could handicap someone’s likelihood of developing schizophrenia can also put odds on how tall people will grow up to be, or even how far they will go in school. And it’s picking children’s intelligence that’s the real societal lightning rod. Genomic Prediction doesn’t currently offer an intelligence score. “Theoretically speaking, it’s probably possible,” says Carr. “I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. Maybe eventually, but as far as I know, we have no plans of adding that. To be honest, we’ve got our hands full.”

What will reproduction look like in 40 years? Tough question, says Carr. “I think more and more people will access IVF for new reasons, and genetic testing will be chief among them,” she says. “You Uber a car and you can DoorDash and see when a pizza is going to land. My generation and younger have come to expect more information.”

Downside of being America’s first IVF baby: “There’s no lying about my age for sure, and yes, it is slightly awkward to still be referred to as a baby,” says Carr. “I think I’m just saddled with this awkward title, but that’s okay.”


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