Prenatal Genetic Tests: The Future Of Procreation

2392 words - 10 pages

Approximately 120,000 babies are born each year with a genetic disease or major genetic birth defect ("Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects"). It is 2014 and our generation still has thousands of babies with genetic diseases born each year and that isn’t right. These diseases range from phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation if left untreated, to congenital heart disease which has a 51 percent mortality rate in infants with the condition ("Mortality Associated...”). One of the solutions that scientists are working on to this problem is preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Barlow-Stewart says, “preimplantation genetic diagnosis works through in-vitro fertilization, which involves removing egg cells from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm cells outside the body.” To complete the test, a small number of cells are taken from these embryos and tested for certain genetic changes. Only embryos without these changes are implanted in the uterus to initiate a pregnancy ("What are the types of genetic tests?”). The technology to perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis has been worked on for years, but is finally becoming a reality. Many people think that this technique is unethical because you are playing the hand of God, and killing humans. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal engineering are viable options for the future of preventing genetic diseases in embryos because they are safe, ethical, and beneficial to advancing society.
There are three different types of preimplantation genetic testing, including prenatal testing, predictive testing and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Prenatal testing is defined as testing a baby’s genes for any mutations that may result in a genetic disease while it is in the embryonic stage in the mother’s womb. Predictive testing is what genetic scientists do when they look at a parent’s genetics to diagnose what recessive autosomal disorders the parents may carry. If the scientists see that the parents both carry a disease on a recessive trait, they can advise the parents the child may be at risk. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is the most advanced test, first fertilizing an embryo in a laboratory setting, and checking it for any diseases before implanting it in the mother to gestate ("What are the Types of Genetic Tests?").
Genetic testing is not a new technology to modern medicine. Some tests are already in effect, one example being that all states currently test infants for phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation if left untreated. According to Horowitz, “All states must screen for at least 21 disorders by law, and some states test for 30 or more.” All of these tests are performed on newborn babies, usually before they even leave the hospital. This has been great for catching thousands of genetic diseases before symptoms start to show and problems form. However, these tests are done after birth, and the parents are...

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