Imagine yourself as a 26-year-old pregnant female. You have just been genetically screened and you found out that you carry a gene for breast cancer. This gene almost always causes breast cancer in early adult hood. Your daughter-to-be has just inherited this gene. You have the following options; a) Abort the fetus and discontinue a disease that won't show signs for decades? b) Carry out the pregnancy and pray that your daughter is lucky and won't develop the breast cancer until maybe a cure for the disease has been found? This is a very tough situation to be in. This is just one situation of many that deal with a new era of a new concept called genetic screening or testing. Genetic screening is the testing of cells to check for certain kinds of genes, or for potentially damaging changes to those genes. It may be defined as a systematic search for persons with a particular genotype. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that genetics screening is an appropriate form of medical care only when certain conditions are met. These conditions include: (1) Evidence of substantial public benefit and acceptance; (2) The benefits outweigh the costs; (3) Appropriate public education can be carried out; (4) Informed consent is feasible; (5) The means are available to evaluate the effectiveness and success of each step in the process (Blank, 1982).
Genetic screening can be and is a difficult procedure, and the results depend both on reliable laboratory procedures and accurate interpretations of results. The interpretation of the test results is often difficult, even for the most experienced physicians and other healthcare specialists. When a person is investigating the results of any genetic test, one must take into account the probability of false positive or false negative test results (http://www.lbl.gov/Educatin/ELSI/genetic-testing.html). Testing is currently being offered to individuals at all stages of life.
There are many types of genetic testing or screenings available to the public. These tests are used to detect possible diseases a person may have. Individuals may want to be tested if (1) there is a family history of one specific disease; (2) they show symptoms of a genetic disorder; or (3) they are concerned about passing on a genetic problem to their children (www.lbl.gov/Education/ELSI/genitic-testing.html). Many of the genetic tests used today involve either medical or surgical procedures. Some types of genetic testing include the Carrier Identification genetic test. This test is used by couples whose families tend to have a history of certain recessive genetic disorders, and who are planning to have children. Cystic fibrosis, Tay-sachs disease and sickle-cell are three common diseases that are tested for in this area. A second test is the Prenatal Diagnosis test. This is a test of a fetus. The test is most often ran when there is a risk of parents bearing a child with genes that are associated with mental...