Prioritizing Women's Health in Germline Editing Research

AMA J Ethics. 2019 Dec 1;21(12):E1071-1078. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2019.1071.


Although women are inextricably involved in the study of germline editing, their interests have not been significantly represented in debates about the evolution of genome editing technology. Discussions have taken place about effects of germline editing on women as parents and members of families, but key discussions about women's health and well-being as patients and subjects are lacking. This neglect is due in part to restrictions on uterine transfer of modified human embryos, a boundary that has now been crossed. As a result, only scant discussion has taken place about safeguards needed to ensure that women who participate in germline modification research are not exposed to disproportionate risk in exchange for benefits they might expect for future offspring. This omission sets the stage for serious ethical implications for women and their families.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Embryo Research / ethics*
  • Female
  • Gene Editing / ethics*
  • Gene Editing / methods
  • Genome, Human / genetics
  • Germ Cells*
  • Humans
  • Women's Health* / ethics