- Genetic screening is used to:
- Identify carriers: heterozygotes with normal phenotypes. This can be followed up with counselling to help potential parents make a decision.
- Embryo testing: a sample of cells from a developing foetus can be analysed. The sample is obtained either by amniocentesis (withdrawing amniotic fluid around 15-17 weeks of pregnancy) or by chorionic villus sampling (cells removed from the placenta at 8-12 weeks).
- Both techniques carry a risk of miscarriage.
- Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis: used to test an embryo created by IVF.
- Pros and Cons of genetic screening:
|Advantages of genetic testing||Disadvantages of genetic testing|
|§ Can opt for termination.|
§ Can get counselling.
§ Can buy special medical equipment / care in preparation for birth.
§ Can opt not to have children (if parents are tested.)
§ Utilitarian argument.
|§ Abortion is morally wrong.|
§ Tests can be inaccurate.
§ Small chance of test resulting in miscarriage.
§ Unnatural procedure.
§ Embryos have a right to life.
§ Embryos cannot give informed consent.