Boy or Girl? Down Syndrome? What to Expect When You’re Testing
Human Reproduction
Susan Gilbert, 08/11/2011

Boy or Girl? Down Syndrome? What to Expect When You’re Testing

(Human Reproduction) Permanent link

News about simple maternal blood tests that can accurately identify the sex of a fetus, genetic disorders, and other traits early in the first trimester are reviving concerns about designer babies and an increased demand for abortion.

A report this week in JAMA finds that maternal blood tests can accurately identify the sex of a fetus as early as the seventh week of pregnancy. Such tests are already available, although their accuracy was uncertain. Last week a San Diego genetic testing company announced that it would market the first maternal blood test to detect Down syndrome in a fetus in the first trimester. The test, given the cute name MaterniT21, is expected to be available in the United States in late this year or early in 2012.

Even before the latest news about these tests, emotions have been running high in anticipation of them soon coming into wide use. Last December, researchers showed that they could do a genome scan of fetal DNA circulating in the mother’s blood, paving the way for prenatal blood tests for a wide range of genetic and chromosomal traits. Marcy Darnovsky wrote in Science Progress that such tests “could radically alter the experience of pregnancy and parenting.” She added, “And we’d better start thinking about it now – before hype, fear, and the polarized politics of abortion distort the discussion.”

Looking ahead to the possible ramifications of a blood test for Down syndrome, a recent article in the New York Times Magazine asked whether children with Down syndrome today may be among the last generation to be born with the disorder.

It’s impossible to know what the effects of these tests will be for parenting and society. But if the exercise of speculation conjures science fiction fears and assumptions ungrounded in facts or ethical framework, I recommend an essay by Ilana Yurkiewicz in Science Progress.

Yurkiewicz aims to cut through the emotional reactions by asking, what’s the problem? What doors are noninvasive early prenatal genetic tests likely to open that are not open already? “If it’s ‘designer babies’ we are worried about, we are already there,” she writes. “Women can now seek egg donors with criteria as specific as ethnicity and minimum height and SAT scores.” Whether these practices really amount to designing your baby is debatable, but in any case the prenatal tests are likely to give parents much more creative control.

On the abortion concerns, she cites statistics that over 80 percent of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome in the United States are aborted, as are more than 90 percent of those diagnosed in Europe. “Learning a prenatal diagnosis at nine weeks, in contrast to the 10 to 12 weeks typical for chorionic villus sampling and 15 to 20 weeks for amniocentesis, could alleviate some of the physical and emotional burdens that accompany later abortions, causing these numbers to spike even higher,” she writes. Add to that the benefit that a maternal blood test would probably be safer than the existing tests, which carry the risk of miscarriage.

But she plays down the fear of abortions for what she calls nonmedical traits. “Realistically, much of this theoretical handwriting may prove moot,” she writes. “Are our prejudices so overpowering that we’d pick abortion over a child with the ‘wrong’ height or eye color?”

A large survey of parents conducted in 2009 suggests that the answer is no. The survey asked 1,000 parents at a genetic testing center about the traits for which they would want to do prenatal testing. While 75 percent said that they would want to test for mental retardation and 54 percent would test for heart disease, relatively few said that they would test for nonmedical traits – 10 percent, for example, said they would test for height.

But, in reality, it’s hard to say how prospective parents’ views might change when it is easier and safer than ever to test for all sorts of traits in a fetus. All we know is that the possibilities are emotionally heated. Yurkiewicz ends with a plea for cool heads to prevail. “Detractors do not need ‘what if?’ slippery slope arguments, often accompanied by references to science fiction, to vindicate their objections,” she writes. “They also do not need emotionally charged analogies to heinous past crimes of eugenics to grant them credibility. There are issues in science that have become so entwined with politics . . . that open discourse is vetoed before it can begin. Making moral headway in prenatal testing requires that it doesn’t join those ranks.”

For decades, doctors and expectant parents have wondered if “one day” there will be a “simple blood test” for prenatal testing. That day is almost here. But the implications are anything but simple.  

Susan Gilbert is the public affairs editor of The Hastings Center.

 

Posted by Susan Gilbert at 08/11/2011 03:49:26 PM | 


Pricey simply just means that something costs a number [url=http://goodtagheuerwatchestou.metroblog.com/]replica tag heuer[/url], but there is strong reason for the price. Overpriced means that something simply boasts a cost that is vastly much more than the materials cost + online marketing costs + development charges + manufacturing cost + circulation costs + fair revenue. Pricey watches and overpriced watches have grown common. And unfortunately overpriced varieties are too common. At the same time period, you need to ask yourself, "if a brand asks some overpriced amount for a watch, but is still able to sell them, can you still regard the watch to be overpriced? " The answer will be yes, but you still really want the watch, don't you? I will now go ahead and list many (and not all) of why that watches are generally so expensive [url=http://cheapcartiersaleforyou.musicblog.com/]fake cartier watches[/url]. These are both in defense on the industry, and expositive issues who are less glamorous regarding the luxury industry. The first thing that watch is incredibly obvious, is the visual amount of carbon fiber that comprises the head. As someone who contains a great love for co2 fiber, and who has items comprised wholly of computer, I can say it's the absolute best that I have seen on a watch and 'moves' together with the light [url=http://cartiernicewatches.metroblog.com/]fake cartier[/url], as good carbon sheets should. Also, the pushers of this chronograph feel distinct from your average pushers. Whenever first depressed, it gives the characteristic 'click' for you to expect when starting this function, however, each additional push for the same pusher does never. The motion is smooth and silent so that the chronograph is stopped and reset, then watch clicks ever again.
Posted by: sonadesjackson@hotmail.com ( Email ) at 9/24/2014 11:40 PM


Considering that many of us as well are generally obstinate to adhere to these types of advices, we all end up getting each of the stress and also regret that people did not elect to are living a normal style of living in an earlier period.
Posted by: eronenisme@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 3/3/2015 3:18 PM


thanks for his information
Posted by: ririncantik0@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 4/13/2015 4:42 PM


An easy going for walks workout is the easiest way regarding shedding pounds because it is easy and free since you walk around you want. And commence going for walks in order to slim down you simply need to develop walking into your daily routine.
Posted by: janice.merkoward@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 4/26/2015 2:26 PM


Developing a solid body's defense mechanism is due to our survivability on this planet. It must apply no matter whether we could protect yourself towards absolutely serious degenerative condition.
mass email marketing
Posted by: jamalasjhar34@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 5/25/2015 5:41 AM


Garçon ou fille? Syndrome de Down? What to Expect When vous testez
Posted by: 2925879093@qq.com ( Email | Visit ) at 6/5/2015 6:25 AM


While we seem many years away from developing treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s disease,
florence personal injury lawyer
Posted by: aarijali100@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 6/23/2015 2:56 AM


Unlike traditional airport metal detectors, full body scanners detect objects made from a range of materials concealed underneath travelers’
cheap price blog comments
Posted by: robinjack10@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 6/30/2015 6:23 AM


wholistic way, where an individual's body is starting to work against itself
Low price Awesome blog comments service
Posted by: robinjack10@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 7/7/2015 4:35 AM


I’m usually accused of being a gender radical, I sat up and listened. And as I read the whole of Sarah message, I realized she was absolutely right...
link Building
Posted by: lenovodell637@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 7/8/2015 6:40 AM


I needed to much obliged in your time for this sublime read!! I decidedly getting a charge out of every tad bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you weblog post.auto loans calculator....
venus factor malaysia
Posted by: jamalasjhar34@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 7/14/2015 5:36 AM


our partners, and whatever we keep in the toy box. Why should anybody else get a say?
fire damage repair
Posted by: robinjack10@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 7/23/2015 4:49 AM


certain etc drug treatments and some health supplements might cause anyone more damage than good, using the long expression....
the tao of badass ebook
Posted by: robinjack10@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/3/2015 6:38 AM


This is why I've gathered this short article upon joy, to help you to learn how to discover joy and become content.
Posted by: orkooper@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/4/2015 3:26 PM


Would it be the material items like money, outfits, jewellery, brand name sneakers along with totes?
Posted by: orkooper@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/4/2015 3:26 PM


Thanks for it, i have been seeking for information regarding this material for ages and yours is that the best I even have discovered up to now....

venus factor malaysia
Posted by: jamalasjhar34@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/5/2015 3:28 AM


A lovely area for pet buffs to shell out an initial date then there is often some thing to talk about. From your wildlife them selves to be able to environmental problems to search
Posted by: rryahaloms@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/7/2015 2:56 PM


This point in time yet it's easy to access a number of attractive intimate quotes on the internet.
Posted by: boni.experius@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/8/2015 7:16 AM


This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways....

Game of War Cheats
Posted by: jamalasjhar34@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/12/2015 2:06 AM


I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.

cheap price blog commenting
Posted by: robinjack0@gmail.com ( Email | Visit ) at 8/16/2015 6:41 AM


Leave a comment
Name *
Email *
Homepage
Comment