Melbourne: Genes that predispose fertile Australian women to breast and ovarian cancers are increasingly being treated by the In-vitro-fertilisation (IVF) technique which removes the cancerous genes from the embryos.
Two clinics in Melbourne are treating women with a `pre-implantation` genetic diagnosis technique to remove these genes in the embryos so that the mutation is not passed on to the off-springs.
Mutation in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes increases the chances of breast cancer in women by 60-80 per cent, the report said.
Women with mutation in only BRCA 1 also have a 30-60 per cent chance of getting ovarian cancer while those with BRCA 2 mutation have a 5-20 per cent chance of having ovarian cancer.
Doctors said 10 couples had used the procedure, which costs ASD 2000, for the breast and ovarian cancer genes since a change in reproductive treatment laws in 2008 allowed such use.
“Some couples may choose the procedure to avoid the trauma of prenatal diagnosis, which could result in an abortion”, said Lyndon Hale, medical director of Melbourne IVF.
Dr Hale said some couples had also seen family members endure breast cancer from a young age or had had their breasts removed to reduce their personal risk of cancer.
"Cancer is a horrible disease - so these people want to get rid of it from their family tree," he said.
Elissa Osborne of Monash IVF said couples wanting to use the diagnostic tests had to wait up to six months for the one to be created for their particular mutation