Methods and Effects of Prenatal Genetic Testing

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Methods and Effects of Prenatal Genetic Testing I. Introduction Prenatal genetic testing has become one of the largest and most influencial advances in clinical genetics today. "Of the over 4000 genetic traits which have been distinguished to date, more than 300 are identifiable via prenatal genetic testing" (Morris, 1993). Every year, thousands of couples are subjecting their lives to the results of prenatal tests. For some, the information may be a sigh of relief, for others a tear of terror. The psychological effects following a prenatal test can be devastating, leaving the woman with a decision which will affect the rest of her life. For couples with previous knowledge of genetic disorders in their family and concerned parents, prenatal genetic testing is part of the regular pregnancy checkup. Making an appointment with a genetic counselor may seem strange or even frightening for some, still others view it a very common step being taken by many Americans today. The desire to have a "normal" child is held by every parent and only now are we beginning to have the ability to select for that child. In preparation to receiving genetic testing, the parents are required to meet with a genetic counselor. A detailed description of the testing methods are reviewed with the couple as well as the risks which are involved with each. Upon an understanding of the procedures, the counselor discusses the many possible outcomes which could be the result of the diagnosis. Finally, before any tests are performed, anxieties from either of the parents are addressed as well as the psychological well-being of the parents. II. Methods of Genetic Testing Procedures performed today are designed to evaluate the probability that a fet... ... middle of paper ... ...s. Clarke, A. (1994). Genetic counseling: Practice and principles. London: Routledge. Fackelmann, K. (1994). DNA dilemmas: Readers and 'experts' weigh in on biomedical ethics. Science News, 146, 408-499. Mennuti, M. T. (1989). Prenatal diagnosis-Advances bring new challenges. The New England Journal of Medicine, 320, 661-663. Morris, D. T. (1993). Cost containment and reproductive autonomy: Prenatal genetic screening and the American health security act of 1993. American Journal of Law & Medicine, 20, 295-316. Spielman, B. (1995). [Review of Women and prenatal testing]. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 23, 199-201. Rothenberg, K. and Thomson, E. (1994). Women and prenatal testing. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. Watson, J. D., Gilman, M., Witkowski, J., Zoller, M. (1992). Recombinant DNA. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.

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