Birth Defects

Topics: Pregnancy, Mental retardation, Fetal alcohol syndrome Pages: 9 (2486 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Birth Defetc

No one is immune to birth defetc
s, yet not everyone is equally susceptible.
Birth defetc
s are not merely a medical problem. They have profound effetc s on
the social and psychological well being of their family and friends. In the normal course of fetal development, cells migrate to their appropriate destination so that organs and limbs form where they should. Usually, the genes perform flawlessly, but mistakes can and do occur. Some of the most common birth defetc

s results from the interaction between one or two abnormal genes out of 100,000 that make up who we are. This is caused by the genes parents pass on or effetc
ed by drugs and alcohol upon the fetus of a new born
Down's syndrome, the most common genetic disease formerly known as mongolism, "occurs one in every six hundred births throughout the world" ( Storm 102). It is caused by chromosomal error, where there is an extra chromosome 21. Instead of have two chromosomes as does a normal individual, there are three. These children's features include up slanted eyelids, depressed foreheads, hearing loss, dental problems, poor speech development, heart disease and intestinal problems where surgery is required. Parents feel very helpless and guilty in many of these and similar situations, feeling as if they are abnormal. However most can learn to walk, talk, dress themselves and eat. Special work programs are available that can help the child reach their education level. Also these work programs help takes off the many stresses facing parents. They no longer have to go it alone.

Tay Sachs disease is another seletc
ive genetic disorder that destroyed
nerve cells. This causes mental retardation, loss of muscle control and death. Children who inherit an abnormal gene from both parents will inherit the decease. The carrier parents have one normal gene and one defetc

ive gene. Carriers of
Tay-Sachs disease have no symptoms. " If two carriers have children, each child has twenty-five percent chance of inheriting the defetc
ive gene (both parents)"
(Strom 174). These children are unable to produce an enzyme that breaks down fats in the brain and nerve cells. The cells become clogged with fat and prevent the cells from functioning normally. Within three to four years their bodies dies.

Sandra vividly remembers how happy she was to have a baby brother and what a beautiful, healthy little boy he was at first. Then, at about six months of age,
her brother began to change. He stopped smiling, crawling and turning over,
and he lost his ability to grasp objetc
s or to reach out. Over the
next few years, he gradually became paralyzed and blind. Finally, he became so affetc
ed that he was
completely unaware of anything or anyone around him. Then, just before his fourth birthday, he died. (Gravelle 56).

" About one in three hundred people carries this disease, but carriers are ten times more common among mid and eastern European Jews" (Gravelle 56). This devastating disease has a tremendous emotional effetc

on the parents. From
day one they watch their beautiful healthy child grow up and live a normal life. Their child could live a normal life for three to four years without any symptoms. And then with no warning their normal way of life changes dramatically as they watch their child suffer a slow traumatizing death. Along with watching their child, they also have to face their new life. They now have to sent most of their time and money on the child, but how ? If they both take off work who will pay for all the doctor bills. If one takes off work who should it be? Physical breakdowns are a major component facing parents as the deal with all this added pressure. Their life will consist living around hospitals and live in nurses which many might get to help cope with the child. Their sex life changes. Most of the time...

Cited: Darling, Jon. Children Who Are Different. Toronto: The C.V. Mosby Company, 1982.
Gardner, Suzy. Substance Abuse During Pregnancy: Protetc
ing The Foetus And New
Born Child. Norwich: UEA Norwich., 1992. Gravelle, Karen. Understanding Birth
s. U.S.A: Frankin Watts, 1990. Strom, Charles. Heredity and Ability.
U.S.A: Plenum Press, 1990.
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