should people have genetic testing done before they have children? provide a strong position and a counter argument.should people have genetic testing done before they have children? provide a...

should people have genetic testing done before they have children? provide a strong position and a counter argument.

should people have genetic testing done before they have children? provide a strong position and a counter argument.

Expert Answers
trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If there is a history of a particular genetic condition in the family, then testing would be a good idea. For example, if two people had sickle cell trait, they would have a 1 in 4 chance of having a child with sickle cell anemia. Genetic testing would alleviate any fears the parents might have regarding this disease that can affect the quality of a person's life. If an older mother is over 35, she might have amniocentesis performed, to see if her child has Down's Syndrome. This condition affect's the child's heart, can lead to higher rates of leukemia and also affects the developing brain. Tay Sach's disease, which is fatal before the child reaches the age of four, and has no treatment or cure, could be tested for in people of Eastern European Jewish descent. The child would need two recessive genes for this condition to occur and this could allow parents to terminate a pregnancy or be prepared for what was to come. An argument against genetic testing could be for adult onset conditions like Huntington's disease. In this disease, in middle age the condition begins to affect the person's brain and the disease usually causes death in another decade. Would someone seemingly healthy when they were younger really want to know what was on the horizon in terms of this illness which has no cure? Or, would they want to get tested so they could live life to the fullest?

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Argument: There are certainly positive results of genetic testing when it comes to knowledge of birth defects and disease.  Many parents-to-be like having the extra time to mentally, emotionally, and even physically prepare for bringing a child into the world who will require different health and medical attention.

Counter-point: On the flip side, genetic testing is also done early enough to give mothers the option of terminating a pregnancy in which genetic complications occur.  It is a controversial issue for many women to have the option of knowing the genetic health of the fetus because it might sway their decision to bring it to full term.  This goes straight to the heart of the "right to life" controversy.  Does a child who is only expected to live to age 4, for example, deserve those 4 years at all?  Or would it be easier on everyone to terminate the pregnancy early enough to avoid this fate altogether?

justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the view of some that everyone should procreate and leave the rest to God is medieval to say the least. If they're right with not preventing the birth of a child who is going to have a chronic ailment that would make life Hell, perhaps they should abstain from taking any medicine at all and never visit a doctor. After all, if God can be trusted in the former case why not in the latter.

Genetic testing for ailments that do not have a cure and make normal life miserable should be performed. I'm sure no person who is facing the problems that many ailments with a genetic cause bring, would ever refuse to consider this option to prevent another generation from being born with the same problems.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I generally agree with the first answer, there are (for some people) religious considerations.  For some people, getting genetic testing would imply a lack of faith.  Some sects of Christianity feel that the major purpose of marriage is to have children and that people who get married have an obligation to try to procreate.  To them, people should let God decide if they will have children and if the children will be born healthy.  People who believe this would have no reason to test because they would still try to procreate even in the event that a test showed that there might be dangers involved.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, I think much heartbreak can be avoided by having genetic testing done before having a baby.  I know some people would have the baby anyway, but at what cost?  If you can avoid giving a child a painful life, why not do it?

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