The Pros of Prenatal Genetic Testing
Many medical advances are being made today in the area of genetics. One of the most talked about is prenatal genetic testing. The purpose of prenatal genetic testing is to obtain information on a baby's health before they are born. This new technology will definitely improve the quality of human life. Diseases will be diminished and through new advances some diseases might even be eliminated.
The technologies available to aid in diagnosing genetic diseases and disorders have developed extraordinarily over the years. As a result, one topic up for discussion is how the technology should be used in the realm of diagnosing children before birth, mainly, using it to selectively screen embryos for genetic diseases. Leon Kass is one author who opposes genetic testing. He provides two main reasons why he feels it is morally wrong to use genetic screening on unborn children.
Genetic testing, also known as screening, is a rapidly advancing new scientific field that can potentially revolutionize not only the world of medicine, but many aspects of our lives. Genetic screening is the sequencing of human DNA in order to discover genetic differences, anomalies, or mutations that may prove pathological. As genetic screening becomes more advanced and easily accessible, it presents society with difficult questions that must be asked about the boundaries of science and to what degree we are allowed to tamper with the human genome. To better understand the potential impact of genetic screening on our society, we must examine the potential benefits in comparison to the possible negative impact it may cause. With this knowledge in hand, we can examine what the future holds for this field of study and the best possible direction to take.
In recent years, genetic testing has become a popular topic in the media. Usually involving cheek swabs, blood samples, or amniotic fluid samples, the procedure is relatively simple and can help diagnose genetic disorders, determine ideal medication types, or simply determine the patient’s heritage. It has saved many lives from cancer and other afflictions, but to say that genetic testing is always the correct choice is false. There are many issues with the tests, considering that they are new to the medical world. Genetic testing is mostly harmful because of privacy concerns, how underdeveloped it is, and the risk of it pushing a mother to abort her child.
There are three different types of preimplantation genetic testing, including prenatal testing, predictive testing and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Prenatal testing is defined as testing a baby’s genes for any mutations that may result in a genet...
Given advancements in technology and medicine, genetic screening and testing is becoming more commonplace in our society. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) defines genetic screening as “a search in a population for persons possessing certain genotypes that (1) are already associated with disease or predispose to disease, (2) may lead to disease in their descendants, or (3) produce other variations not known to be associated with disease” (NHGRI, 2005). The term genetic testing is similar, but differs in that it only targets those individuals believed to be at high risk for a genetic disease. For example, testing an asymptomatic person in a family with relatives affected with the condition would constitute genetic testing (NHGRI, 2005). For the purpose of this paper, the two terms will be used interchangeably. Given the growing number of genetic tests available for identifying genetic diseases, it is important to examine the ethical implications of genetic screening as well as the arguments for and against this practice.
The purpose of newborn genetic screening is to screen newborns for potential health concerns. Newborn genetic screening started in 1965 with the testing of one disorder, phenylketonuria (WDHS). Since then, newborn genetic screening has evolved and over 4 million newborns are screened in the U.S. every year (CCHC Report). Currently, in the state of Wisconsin, there are 47 different disorders that are tested for (WDHS).
Genetic testing has become a highly controversial issue among both the general population and the scientific community. It is a process that exposes a person’s entire genome sequence, allowing it to be read and evaluated to identify potential risks for genetic diseases or diseases that could be passed onto offspring (Holt Productions, 2012). With thousands of genetic tests already being used, and more being established, it seems logical to put this growing technology to use. Some agree that it is a person’s right to know and understand his or her genetic makeup. However, others argue that, despite the benefits of genetic testing, caution should be used to carefully inspect the risks associated with this new technology.
The Genetic Screening Debate
Within the past thirty years, researchers have found strong evidence linking genes and disease. The development of predictive genetic tests followed shortly after the isolation of certain candidate genes. Although predictive genetic screening is only available for a handful of diseases, its effects and ramifications have become hotly debated issues in a wide range of areas, from government to religion. The debate began in the 1993 when researchers isolated the BRCA1 gene, which is associated with increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Natalia is a 33yo G4 P1112 who was seen for an ultrasound evaluation and consultation. The patient is interested in genetic screening. She has a history of opiate use disorder and has been using 20 mg of methadone every other day taken from the streets, per her report. She reportedly has anxiety and depression and has been told that she has bipolar disorder in the past. She also does have a history of a previous 32-week preterm delivery with premature rupture of the membranes, though she gave that baby up for adoption. The baby did stay in the NICU for about 2 weeks. She also has a history of having GDM in that pregnancy with HTN in both previous deliveries in 2011 and 2013. In addition, based on her height and weight at the start of the pregnancy, her BMI was 37.