Genetic Screening Presents Parents With an Impossible Choice
How do you decide whether to pass down the risk of disease to your kids?
For people who carry BRCA, the so-called breast cancer gene, having children is a fraught choice. The same goes for any person carrying a gene linked to an increased risk of disease. There’s always a chance they might pass that gene on to their kids, along with the psychological burden that comes with carrying such a gene.
Now, genetic testing is increasingly allowing parents to choose whether to pass such genes down. While at first, it might seem like a no-brainer — why wouldn’t you want to prevent that fate for your children? — in reality, the decision is far more complicated. In a thought-provoking piece for Future Human, writer Jessica Furseth interviewed parents and would-be parents who went through the experience, discovering that time, money, and faith in science are just a few of the factors that shape such a difficult decision.
“In theory, genetic conditions with the potential to cause harm could be bred out of the human genome,” she writes. “That doesn’t mean that will happen anytime soon.”
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