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Huntingtons Disease Essay

845 words - 3 pages

In "Genetics and Reproductive Risk: Can having children be immoral," L.M Purdy discusses the notion that the recent advances in reproductive technology impose a moral obligation on individuals to prevent the birth of "affected" babies that will not have a "minimally satisfying life." There are, however, several assumptions that the author makes in reaching the conclusion that having "affected" children is immoral.The author makes the claim that people with Huntington's disease are unlikely to live a minimally satisfying life. It is known however, that Huntington's disease does not take any affect until 40-50 years of age. Thus, those 40-50 years can easiliy be lived the same, without the affects of the disease, as those individuals who are not affected with Huntingtons disease. Just as those without the disease have a satisfying life before the age of 50 so can those with Huntingtons. Thus, there whole life is not doomed to be unsatisfying. If questioned, many individuals would chose only 40-50 of a "good, disease free" life than no life at all. When the author states that is unacceptable to accept the risk of inheriting this disease with the consent of the future child, the author fails to recognize that essentially all actions performed by the surrogate mother are done without consent. This includes drinking alcohol and smoking. While these behaviors are harmful in large amounts, they are not monitored by a third party nor have proven to cause enough damage in small amounts so the life of the child would be unsatifying. Thus, the mother is accepting a risk on behalf of another, yet while it may be considered immoral to drink or smoke in the first place it should not considered immoral to have the child. If pretanal testing is used in order to prevent mothers from having affected children because it is immoral to accept the risk, one could extend this argument to monitoring a mother's alcohol and nicotine consumption, which would be very hard and ineffective, and could impinge on the rights of the mother. If a mother has a moral obligation to avoid accepting the risk, not a definite outcome, of having a childing with Huntington's, should mother who(although maybe wrongfully) had a few drinks be morally obliged to prevent the birth of a child at the "risk" that the child may have a defect? The author is assuming that it is immoral to accept the risk because the birth results in a "terrible" disease. Again,...

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