Genetic testing has become an important part of our lives even though most of its benefits are still not available to the majority of people. All parents hope that their children will have a better healthier life. However, despite of how hard parents might try, they are unable to protect their children from all diseases, while the genetic testing offered for some diseases can predict the future of the child. Many ethical and practical issues surround genetic testing, including the reliability and interpretation of the tests, the role of parental choice in health of their children and the social values that can be confronted with the individual preferences.
Genetic testing can predict whether the child will be healthy or not. The issue is closely related with the right for abortion – is it ethical and morally justified to make an abortion is the pregnant woman knows that the child she bears will have disorders? (Buchanan 2003). Genetic testing is highly reliable and the chance for mistake in interpretation from scientific point of view is very low. However, this chance for an error still exists and there are some examples when the woman has been told about the diseases her future child will have and when the child was born, the predicted diseases were not observed. Nevertheless, the research proves that such situations are the result of improper interpretation and lack of qualification of the person who has done genetic testing.
In addition to the moral issues of genetic testing, there are some social issues that arouse considerations. Some of the people believe that the genetic testing is discriminatory because it puts an emphasis on the assumption that disability is a defect. Thus, genetic testing denigrates the role of disabled people in the society. Some of the researchers make a note that genetic testing is a mean to justify the abortion and eliminate the costs associated with the disabled child (Asch 2003). In such cases the genetic information is misused by third parties. Moreover, there are several health risks for the mother and her child because of invasive nature of the testing. However, the current techniques used for genetic testing minimize the risk of harm.
The multitude of moral and social issues of genetic testing make it an interesting topic to investigate. Despite of intensive critique, genetic testing has positive implications as well. One of the arguments is that genetic testing may help the couples with high risk aware of what is waiting for them. In addition, the elimination of the diseases may prevent the physical and emotional suffering of both parents and a child (Murray 2003). Nevertheless, genetic technology remains a very expensive technique and has high potential for discriminatory practices because of misinterpretation of data.
Genetic testing offers huge possibilities and the number of moral and social issues shape the decision of which direction to adopt further. For sure, future parents will use this technology for the benefits of their children and the ability to manipulate the genes can eliminate many diseases the society is trying to cope with. However, the assumption that genetic information can be misused by third parties makes parents doubting the need of this testing.
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