Genetic Screening Essay

Impacts of Genetic Screening For Parents

Genetic screening is defined as "any kind of test performed for the systematic early detection or exclusion of a hereditary disease, the preposition to such a disease or to determine whether a person carries a predisposition that may produce a hereditary disease in offspring." (Godard, Beatrice et al.) Genetic screening is commonly performed for reasons associated with fertility and pregnancy, and, being a relatively new frontier in genetic research, has attracted a lot of controversy. Nevertheless, it is ultimately a way to give parents more control over their reproduction and give them more options and responsibilities.

Genetic screening is very important and has a tremendous influence on thousands
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(Godard, Beatrice et al.) Parents can screen for genetic anomalies before conception, and be informed about the risks before deciding to reproduce. (Niernberg, Cari) For example, in the Ashkenazi Jewish community, the rate of children having Tay-Sachs Disease, a fatal genetic defect caused by defects in a gene in chromosome 15 that codes for production of the enzyme Hex-A, is uncommonly high. However, extensive carrier testing of people in this community has significantly reduced the rate of Tay-Sachs in the Ashkenazi Jewish community. ("Learning about tay-Sachs Disease.") Prenatal screening comes with a lot of benefits as well. Using different methods of screening, including amniocentesis (a procedure where some amniotic fluid is drained for karyotype analysis) and chorionic villus sampling (taking some villi cells in the placenta and analyzing their karyotype), doctors and specialist can detect the possibility of the fetus developing genetic disorders early on. For example, the triple test for Down syndrome, which tests for raised amniotic fluid alpha protein, raised maternal serum chorionic gonadotrophin, and low unconjugated oestriol, tests the maternal serum of the mother, and has a 85 to 90 percent accuracy rate. (Godard, Beatrice et al.) With this kind of information provided for the …show more content…
For example, the technique of non invasively screening fetuses for genetic anomalies has recently been developed. This technique can find segments of fetal DNA inside the mother 's bloodstream, and now, with advanced technology, doctors can deduce the background maternal DNA and put the segments of fetal DNA together to produce of complete genome sequence of the fetus. This procedure does not pose risk to the fetus, as amniocentesis and CVS does, and will make genetic screening safer and more accessible. (White, Michael) Genetic screening faces ethical challenges as well. How disabled should a fetus be to make it acceptable to be aborted? If a fetus is at high risk of developing a hereditary disability, should it be aborted, or should the parents have known that pregnancy comes with a risk? Should this decision be made by parents, or should they be made by policy makers? In Canada, abortion is legal for whatever reason; however, the states of Indiana and North Dakota in the United States has passes laws banning abortion that are performed solely because of genetic anomalies in the fetus, particularly Down syndrome. The issue of genetic screening inevitable brings up the controversial issue of abortion, and it is a political problem as well. To sum up, should the parents make these choices about the child 's quality of life or potential life itself? Or should

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