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This article attempts to analyze the concerns that are recently being raised concerning genetic screening especially to the newborns. In addition, most individuals are carriers or already have faulty genes that are responsible for the occurrence of numerous genetic-related disorders such as single cell anemia, hemophilia, Down syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, Alzheimer`s disease, muscular dystrophy, and others. However, early screening for most of these diseases can have clinical benefits to the newborns (Pollack, 2010). This paper focuses on the summary and critical analysis of this article.
Summary of the article
The author of this article stipulates that, most parents were initially faced with challenges of whether to undergo genetic testing or not. Others failed to embrace genetic testing due to a myriad of factors that were associated with this process, including the high cost, the associated risks, steps to take when the results show the presence of a genetic disorder, technological limits of the screening process, among others. For example, initially, genetic testing was being conducted through the use of amniocentesis method, and this method was associated with the occurrence of miscarriages among the pregnant women who wanted to know the genetic characteristics of their offspring. However, technological innovations led to the development of another method of genetic testing, tandem mass spectrometry, which facilitates the identification of various genetic conditions at a lower cost and risks (Pollack, 2010).
However, there is need for the public health authorities and other responsible health care professionals to consider all the clinical implications that are associated with genetic testing, including cost and implications of the unfavorable results to parents and families. According to the author, there genetic testing should be regulated in such a way that it benefits the screened population, and the cost of testing, treatment and counseling be affordable to most individuals. In addition, confidentiality and informed consent should be upheld while conducting genetic testing.
Apparently, though tandem mass spectrometry is cheaper, it is a bit expensive to some genetic conditions, especially those which require frequent testing. For example, fragile X, one of the most inheritable forms of intellectual disability, is a complicated disorder that requires frequent genetic testing in order to accurately determine its outcomes, such as prematutation carriers and full mutations (Pollack, 2010). Diagnosing this disorder is more challenging since the same number of repeats can show different symptoms or even fail to display any symptom at all. However, frequent testing can prevent cases of incorrect diagnosing and treatment of this disorder.
I concur with the author`s argument that the cost of genetic testing should be set in such a way that most parents can afford it. Most Americans are middle class and low income earners and thus cannot afford to raise funds for genetic screening. Reducing this cost would enable more parents to embrace genetic testing as a healthy behavior. In addition, I support regulations that authorizes genetic testing be done followed by counseling of parents whose newborns either genetic disorders or are carriers (Pollack, 2010). This counseling helps these parents to cope the associated concerns such as depression and anxiety. This article helps psychologists to contemplate the mental and environmental situations that effect human beings and ways of curbing or managing them. For example, through counseling, parents manage to control stress, depression or anxiety.
I think genetic testing is beneficial to couples as it helps them to know the genetic characteristics of their newborns. Early detection of some genetic diseases may have some health benefits to an individual, which in the long run prolongs their lifespan. For this reason, genetic screening should be offered at an affordable cost, as well as genetic counseling to parents whose children have genetic disorders.
Pollack, H. (2010). Put to the test: As genetic screening gets cheaper and easier, it’s raising questions that health-care providers aren’t prepared to answer. The American Prospect, 21(9), 21-24. Retrieved from Opposing Viewpoints in Context database.