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Pre-natal Genetic Testing

            Health, beauty and success are a major part of today's society. When a couple decide to conceive a child, they hope for a healthy, disease free and beautiful infant. When a question is made about their ability to produce such a child, most parents fear the worst. With genetic testing, parents would be able to find out to a certain degree and to a certain detection rate, what their chances of a disabled child or child with a disease would be. Is it morally acceptable, though, to interfere with a natural process and to possibly abort a child because they have a disease? This question is very relevant when applied to genetic testing and/or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. If this leads to fetuses being aborted or embryos not being implanted or being destroyed, who makes these decisions and where is the line drawn? Is it then extended to the belief that disabled individuals should never have been permitted to be born?.
             Life begins at conception. Embryonic life, as well as all forms of life, must be valued. The criteria used to influence one's personal decision regarding prenatal testing/ and or embryonic implantation must be influenced by one's morals and the morals of society.
             When considering the issues of genetic testing and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis we have to look at what these two procedures entail. The most widespread type of genetic testing is newborn screening. Each year in the United States, four million newborn infants have blood samples tested for abnormal or missing gene products. Carrier testing can be used to help couples to learn if they carry - and thus risk passing to their children - a recessive allele for inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, or Tay-Sachs disease. Genetic tests - biochemical, chromosomal, and DNA-based - also are widely available for the prenatal diagnosis of conditions such as Down syndrome. Through pre-implantation genetic testing, patients can now determine if an embryo will be affected by a certain genetic abnormality prior to its transfer and implantation in the uterus.

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