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This paper covers genetic testing in the modern world and its effects in the society. Naturally it is a prayer of every parent to be to conceive a baby of robust health. This comes out of the worry of bearing a child with abnormalities, untreatable or hereditary health problems. The availability of genetic test can be of the essence in the establishment, and built of the necessary confidence of reassurance, and information concerning the pregnancy.
Genetic testing on fetuses plays a primary role in recognition of the health problems that are likely to affect both the mother and the unborn. The heath problems that are identified can be either treatable or untreatable. Nonetheless, the tests have a number of accompanying pros and cons which the pregnant mother should be fully aware and informed about and by extension think of the necessary steps to be taken if a certain health problem is identified. Genetic tests on fetus can help identify the characteristics of the unborn which include sex, size and position in the uterus, the possibility that the unborn has genetic, congenital and chromosomal defects and other types of fetal defects that include heart malfunction, Alzheimer among others.
The most rampant issue about genetic testing is the accessibility of the information and individual and society's responsibility on genetic information.
Genetic testing like many other sectors of medicine that have been affected by technology has evolved over the recent years to great heights. According to Human Genome Project Information, there are many setbacks in the medical options which can be utilized in interpreting the test results. These may include the satisfaction of one's anxiety, show of favoritism and social stigmatization.
A gene is a unit of heredity in a living organism. Gene testing is the analyzing of the DNA molecule itself and the identification of changes in chromosomes, proteins and genes. Gene testing is used for various reasons some being: carrier testing, prenatal testing, forensic testing, newborn screening, pharmacogenomics and presymptomatic testing. In practice, genetic tests are carried out on a sample of blood, skin, amniotic fluid, hair or other tissue. Over the recent years, many people have embraced prenatal testing, which is, the testing of the fetus with the aim of prenatal sex discernment, paternity testing and detection of birth defects. There are two methods used in prenatal testing: invasive, for example, amniocentesis which involves the insertion of needles into the uterus and non-invasive, for example, ultrasonography.
The Human Genome Project Information claims that already genetic testing has improved many lives since it has been used in diagnostic testing and directing physicians to appropriate treatments while at the same time allowing families to avoid having children with devastating diseases (Schoonmaker, 2006).
Genetic testing is used for routine prenatal checkups. Prenatal testing is also used to determine the sex of the fetus, if the fetus has any kind of genetic abnormality and the paternity of a fetus. Though prenatal sex discernment has been banned in some countries, it is used to determine of the sex of a fetus for eager parents. Prenatal testing is also useful to parents who have an increased risk of genetic abnormality or in circumstances where the pregnancy puts the life of the mother or fetus at risk. This is vital as it helps families get prepared financially, psychologically, socially and medically too. In legal matters or other situations where the paternity of a fetus or embryo is in question, then genetic testing is always a major way of solving the problem (Sharpe, 2006).
Genetic testing on the fetus allow for the treatment of the unborn condition as early as even during pregnancy, for instance, a baby with Rh incongruity problems can receive blood transfusions. In addition, the parents can make early and appropriate decisions concerning the delivery of the baby. The decisions can be a schedule for a cesarean delivery so as to minimize the chances of birth related injuries, for instance, for a baby with spina bifida.
Genetic testing allows for the proper preparation of the parents to take care of a baby with special needs. The preparation can be both emotionally and financially incase the baby will require expensive medical attention or incase of a stillborn. Finally, genetic testing allows parents to make a decision on whether to determinate or continue with the pregnancy. The decision can either be based on sex or the abnormalities.
View of genetic testing in the 21st century
Use of prenatal testing to determine the sex or other physical attributes of a fetus has become very common. Some couples will prefer to abort until they have achieved the preferred sex or admired characteristics in their off springs. This is discrimination against the unborn, and it has elevated mixed feelings from members of the society making abortion one of the most controversial topics in the modern world today. Most people are of the opinion that abortion is an issue of morals and ethics leaving so many more in a dilemma on the topic.
Genetic testing has its cons and as Genetics Home Reference claims. Tests can be inadequate as they might not be detailed about an inherited condition. Genetic testing has its major pros though like in diagnostic testing where doctors are able to make appropriate conclusions in method of treatment (Christie, 2003).
The major drawback of genetic testing is its deficiency in the identification of all problems. The tests cannot guarantee the birth of a perfectly strong and healthy baby. Again, the tests do not give an elaborative extent of the problem in terms of severe ness, hence difficulty in determining the kind and quality of life the baby will enjoy. The genetic tests specifically prenatal test can be continuous to the extent that getting out of it will be a problem, for instance, a test result which indicates a possibility of having a baby with down syndrome can result in a follow-up AFP test, an amniocentesis, an ultrasound and even more risky and invasive procedures.
Genetic testing is of great use in our current society and scientists should come up with improvements in the testing process in order to understand more on genetic mutation and changes in chromosomes. Regardless of the few negative effects of genetic testing, mostly it has proven to be of phenomenal assistance to the world of medicine and to the human race in general (Marcovitz, 2010).
Any individual with knowledge about his or her genetic information should take bold steps to try to inform and educate or sensitize the society about the importance of carrying out genetic tests. His or her knowledge about the information should be a source of empowering tool to the society. The individual should encourage the populace to carry voluntary genetic tests so that they can establish their health status. In addition, he/she should organize for conferences to look into the future of a society with sufficient knowledge on genetically linked diseases.
The come together will create a better psychological on individuals who are preparing to undergo the check freely. The individual will help alleviate the fears that the rest in the individuals minds concerning the stigma that accompanies ones knowledge about his or her health conditions. The positive experience that has resulted due to the individuals' acquisition of the genetic findings should be used as an encouragement for others who have feared to carry the tests.
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