Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 419–429 | Cite as

Religious Scholars’ Attitudes and Views on Ethical Issues Pertaining to Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in Malaysia

  • A. Olesen
  • S. N. Nor
  • L. Amin
Original Research


Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) represents the first fusion of genomics and assisted reproduction and the first reproductive technology that allows prospective parents to screen and select the genetic characteristics of their potential offspring. However, for some, the idea that we can intervene in the mechanisms of human existence at such a fundamental level can be, at a minimum, worrying and, at most, repugnant. Religious doctrines particularly are likely to collide with the rapidly advancing capability for science to make such interventions. This paper focuses on opinions and arguments of selected religious scholars regarding ethical issues pertaining to PGD. In-depth interviews were conducted with religious scholars from three different religious organizations in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. Findings showed that Christian scholars are very sceptical of the long-term use of PGD because of its possible effect on the value of humanity and the parent-children relationship. This differs from Islamic scholars, who view PGD as God-given knowledge in medical science to further help humans understand medical genetics. For Buddhist scholars, PGD is considered to be new medical technology that can be used to save lives, avoid suffering, and bring happiness to those who need it. Our results suggest that it is important to include the opinions and views of religious scholars when it comes to new medical technologies such as PGD, as their opinions will have a significant impact on people from various faiths, particularly in a multi-religious country like Malaysia where society places high value on marital relationships and on the traditional concepts of family.


Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis Religious scholar Attitudes 



The results of this study come from a research project entitled, “Ethical Implications of PGD: A qualitative study on three selected groups in Malaysia,” supported by a post-graduate grant (University of Malaya) [UM,TNC2/IPPP/UPGP/GRANT(PPP)/PS385/2010B] and publication grant DLP-2015-004. We thank all participants in this study for their time and efforts in the interviews.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

This study has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pusat Citra UniversitiUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, UKM BangiBangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Science and Technology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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