Prenatal genetic testing

Prenatal genetic testing has undergone several advancements, as have many medical techniques in the past decade. Expectant parents can have their fetus’ DNA tested to uncover the risk or possible presence of various genetic disorders. In addition, our society has become fascinated with genetics and genetic testing, and companies like 23andMe have evolved to meet the public’s demand for genetic “information”. 23andMe advertises that they can tell a customer information on their risk for things like Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. While prenatal testing may be warranted in some cases, where parents have a known risk for a certain disease or disorder, it is important to remember, as the text points out, “…genes are not destiny…”. In many cases, they simply indicate an increased risk, and not the presence or future presence of a disease.Please read the section on page 56 of the text titled, “Dealing with Genetic Abnormalities”. Think about some of the questions posed in this section, such as who should have access to a person’s genetic profile? Consider the possible consequences of your DNA profile being part of your medical records, or part of your personal history, when applying for a job or trying to buy health or life insurance. Many people are willingly handing over their DNA to commercial entities like 23andMe or Ancestry.com. Consider the potential benefits as well as the downsides to this information being “out there”. Should new parents be able to leave the hospital with a full report on their infant’s genome analysis that reveals disease risks? Do you think that could potentially change, for better or for worse, the way they may parent that child?