Genetic screening uses a variety of laboratory procedures to find out if a person has a genetic condition or disorder or is likely to develop a disease based on his or her genetic make-up. Many people choose to have these tests if there family history involves diseases such as breast cancer of Huntington’s disease. However one of the latest controversies within society is that of prenatal genetic testing. Some believe that prenatal genetic testing has great potential for our society. They believe that it has the capability of improving and lengthening human life. If it is used properly, genetic testing can eliminate unforeseen suffering and distress. On the other hand some fear that will lead to the abortion of pregnancies of fetuses with ASD, Down-Syndrome etc., with the end result being the elimination of children with special needs. This leads to the suggestion that people with mental or physical disabilities serve no use in our society which is not true. As such people opposed to genetic pre-natal screening are against the development of such tests and are campaigning to oppose their use (Parker, 2006). An understanding of genetic irregularities is valuable in its own right, leading to a greater understanding, better and earlier diagnosis and interventions, and amelioration of the negative consequences of those genetic irregularities. The main argument used by those opposing prenatal diagnosis is that if a deficiency was discovered in a fetuse, that it could lead to mass abortions. This is a defeatist’s attitude towards humanity. Rather than attempting to deny parents of a test that is going to be introduced into society eventually, or deny them their legal right to choose because we might not like the way they exercise it, we should concentrate on promoting hope and likelihood of a better outcome, showing them that children born with autism, down-syndrome or other disabilities can live a happy and successful life (Parker, 2006). Throughout the course of this essay I am going to be discussing both positive and negative consequences of genetic screening and prenatal testing. I will explore the real and conceivable controversies around the issue, discussing what’s at stake in society and the idea of the perfect child. I will be discussing ethics, morals and values and how the rise of health social movements brings a grey area to the questions that were once so simple to answer. The modern conception of parenthood has raised our stake in having children without major flaws. Most of us living in today’s society will have fewer children than earlier families. We will want each of our children to do well, be happy and become successful in their lives. We take moral relationship with each of our children with increasing seriousness. This is mostly to the good I believe. But it does mean that we may be less willing to have a child whose care may become a burden, or whose life may be marked by more difficulties than one would have wished (Murray, 1996). We have to draw a line on the boundaries around prenatal diagnosis. Can we decide what limits if any, to place on perspective parents access to genetic information or are we denying them their right to information about a part of their body? However from a medical perspective, congenital abnormalities account for 20-25% of prenatal deaths. Now many genetic and other disorders can be diagnosed early in pregnancy and prevented (Medscape.com, 2011). So prenatal diagnosis has both the potential to save the life of a child and eliminate a foetus. The ethics behind prenatal testing are far from clear. Yet these tests can still be used ethically and beneficially. In the vast majority of cases prenatal testing relieves anxiety, since most babies are healthy. Further-more being warned of your child’s birth defect can be very helpful. It gives the parents time to organise things to meet the child’s particular needs. It also gives the parents a chance to grieve before the child is born,...
References: • Parker, I. (2006). “Shades of Grey: Thoughts on Prenatal Genetic Testing”. Available at www.a-shade-of-grey.blogspot.com/2006/07/thoughts-on-prenatal-genetic-testing.html. Accessed on the 11-12-2011.
• Murray, T. (1996). “The worth of a child”. University of California Press: California.
• Medscape.com, (2011). “Prenatal Diagnosis for Congenital Malformations and Genetic Disorders”. Available at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1200683-overview. Accessed on the 12-12-2011.
• Gregoire, S. (2009). “To Test or Not to Test” Available at http://sheilawraygregoire.com/totestornottotestprenataltestingp14.php. Accessed on the 12-12-2011.
• Arc.org, (1997). “Genetic Discrimination”. Available at www.the.arc.org/depts/gbr03.html. Accessed on the 12-12-2011.
• Botkin, J, (1995). “Federal Privacy and Confidentiality”. Hastings Centre Report: Hastings.
• Morejon, D. (1996) “Commentary” Hastings Centre Report: Hastings.
• Practical Ethics, (2011). “Preimplantation Genetic Screening: One Step Closer to the Perfect Baby”. Available athttp://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2008/10/preimplantation-genetic-screening-one-step-closer-to-the-perfect-baby/. Accessed on the 13-12-2011.
• Ornl.gov, (2007). “Tech Resources”. Available at www.ornl.gov/techresources/human_genome/public/hgn/v8n3/07/press.html. Accessed on the 14-12-2011.
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