Testing Children's Genetics Essay

864 words - 4 pages

The diseases that exist in our world are enough to make medicine and testing the only option of hope in times of need. People grow up happy and healthy, only to be diagnosed, in their middle age, with an adult-onset disease. These diseases only become a burden as the victim gets older. Some commonly known ones are Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease. There is no cure or treatment for adult-onset diseases like this. Knowing that the victims have these diseases written in their DNA from the moment they were born leads to an interesting argument. Several communities argue about whether parents or guardians should have the right to test their children for these diseases. There are many arguments, however, that stem from the social and ethical aspect of the effects it could have on the kids.
The arguments that are presented are understandable because every parent wants to do what is best for their child. However, the true question is whether or not it is actually their choice to make. Doctors constantly argue about the fact that deciding to test a child would “be denying him the chance to make the decision as an adult” (Klitzman). They are advised to allow their child to mature and make the decision when they are old enough. Choosing for them could be considered unethical because there is a chance the child may not want to know. The desire for testing children stems from the fact that parents hope they can “prevent disease and maintain a healthier lifestyle for their children” (Rochman). But how can you prevent a disease that hasn’t yet developed, especially without anything to assist. It seems wrong to push a kid into growing up knowing his or her life will be cut short by a disease, but there is nothing they can do about it. Lastly, however, there are some upsides that may help the child if testing is done. “Genetic testing can eliminate the need for risky and costly screening” (“Testing Children for Genetic Status”). In certain cases, the use of testing may benefit kids if the disease they may have been born with could be cause “a development of any therapeutic interventions for the disease”(“Testing Children for Genetic Status”). Its up to the doctor and parents of that child to decide whether the risk of choosing for the child is worth it or not. It is clear that there has been proof that this big decision can be ethical and unethical, leading to only more controversy.
Also, testing children for a disease that won’t develop for years can be socially harmful for them. First of all, children will...

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