Prenatal Genetic Testing has become one of the most prominent and influential advances in clinical genetics today. Every year, hundreds of couples request screening services, hence, subjecting themselves to the results of the diagnosis. For some, the information may be a sigh of relief, and for others a whisper of warning. The concept of Prenatal Genetic Screening has only recently surfaced for controversy. In consequence to the completion of the Human Genome Project (2003), the option for Prenatal Genetic Screening can now be performed for an affordable 1,000 dollars. We will write a custom essay on Bioethics Paper: Prenatal Genetic Screening specifically for you
Utilizing state of the art multiplex technologies such as gene chips and micro beads, we can already track hundreds of thousands of unique SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms to screen our genome at over half a million pinpoints that are believed to be associated with particular traits, diseases, susceptibilities, and conditions.
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In addition to screening for diseases, this technology threatens to tamper with our perception of individuality. Raising the question of constitutionality, and whether it should be permitted to terminate a pregnancy based for reasons of sex, hair color, or eye color [Designer Babies].
If approved by the FDA, this option is predicted to prompt a dramatic increase in pregnancy terminations and lead to a host of practical and legal questions. Some believe that the concept is simple. Utilizing potential knowledge of the impending future, we are given the chance to think and to prepare. We are given the chance to absorb the entirety of the situation and consult a genetics counselor. With prior knowledge we could save people years of suffering and financial trouble.
Others question the effectiveness and benefits of genetic screening and wonder if the process would prompt undue emotional distress, distress for the safety of the fetus and also the issue of privacy. And continue to note the dark and looming connotations of Designer Babies. It is evident that the latter argument is the common preference, however, I will take the road less taken. Five years ago I lived an innocent childhood, where everyone laughed and played, and there was no worse suffering beyond scraping my knee on the pavement. Two years later that reality was shattered. What I didn’t know at the time was that there were children who lived lives far different from mine.
Children like my baby cousin Jasmine. Jasmine was born with a rare genetic disorder called Pfeiffer’s Syndrome, a disease characterized by the early fusion of the bones in her skull. She would never live my childhood reality, for frankly she would never live to the age. Often times I wondered what could have been done, and only recently has it revealed itself to me that “Prenatal Genetic Screening” was the answer to my persistent question. If only it had been available at the time, maybe Jasmine could have grown up to be the next “James D. Watson,” “Francis Crick” or “Rosalind Franklin.” Now we will never know. Now that it is possible to save, to relieve, and to cure, is it worth the risk to give children like Jasmine a fair chance at life? I believe so.
“The President’s Council on Bioethics: The Future of Newborn Screening: Clouds on the Horizon?” The President’s Council on Bioethics: The Future of Newborn Screening: Clouds on the Horizon? N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2013.
“The Genetic Testing Controversy.” The Genetic Testing Controversy. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2013.
“History and Overview of Newborn Screening.” Welcome. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2013.
“New Prenatal Genetic Test Is Much More Powerful at Detecting Fetal Abnormalities.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 09 Feb. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.
“Prenatal Diagnostic Tests and the Social, Legal, and Ethical Implications.” Prenatal Diagnostic Tests and the Social, Legal, and Ethical Implications. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.
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