March 6, 2008

Genetic Counseling – Capability Of Lengthening And Improving Human Life In An Ethical Way

Posted in Category : Women's Health

If you are planning for having a baby or expecting a baby, your doctor recommends many tests to assess the health of mother and baby. There are numerous prenatal tests including blood tests, monthly medical exams, urine tests etc. The doctor also refers for the genetic counseling which provides the information about the risk of genetic disorders. It can help to detect the genetic disorders like Down syndrome, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease and spina bifida.

Genetic counseling involves evaluating medical records and family history, ordering the genetic tests, evaluating the results of these investigations and helping the parents to understand and reach the decisions. Genetic tests are performed on the blood samples or body tissues to determine the genetic and chromosomal abnormalities.

Genetic counselors are the professionals having counseling skills and master’s program in medical genetics. They help to identify and interpret the risk of inherited disorders, suggest testing and explain the inheritance patterns. It is better to seek genetic counseling prior o pregnancy to assess the risk factors. Genetic counseling is particularly important, if following risk factors are applicable for you-abnormal result of a standard prenatal screening test, unexpected result of amniocentesis, history of miscarriages and previous children with genetic disorders or birth defects. After genetic counseling, you will come to know about the risks and their treatment or preventive options. You will be ready to accept these challenges.

There are some controversies related to genetic counseling. It can give rise to some issues such as consent, privacy, equity, discrimination and social engineering. There may be the issue of abortion debate and disability and fetal rights.

However, genetic counseling has great potential with the capability of lengthening and improving human life if used in an ethical way.