Prenatal Genetic Testing

Aug 3, 2020 in Medicine Essay

Free Medicine Essay SampleIntroduction

Child expectation is among the greatest things in the lives of couples. The moment a mother finds out that a baby is on the way, the feelings of joy mixed with fear are likely to be observed. The health of the baby and the mother are very crucial subjects and have to be taken care of. Different genes are inherited from ancestors through conception and are bound to stick with the baby from its birth for the whole life. They may be right or wrong depending on the ancestors. Some genes are known to contain health limitations that cannot be avoided unless the pregnancy is terminated to prevent the continuation of the gene passing to other generations.

Prenatal genetic tests are the tests conducted to mothers during the period of pregnancy to determine the presence of any dangerous genes. This is done through different stages of scanning with various gadgets and machines. The mother herself determines whether the tests should be conducted to establish the health condition of the baby or not. It is claimed that the tests may be harmful to her and the baby's health; therefore, careful decisions should be made before the process. This paper is a research essay arguing that prenatal genetic testing should not be perfumed on pregnant women due to the risks it poses to both the mother and the baby's health. These tests are also emotionally abusive to the mother and are therefore completely irrelevant.

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Reason A

A false-positive result could lead to pregnancy termination, while in the reality the child may not be genetically abnormal. It will end up aborted based on just the test without any further research and diagnosis of whether the trial result is true or not. A valuable life will, therefore, be stopped based on false evidence, which is a serious risk for the unborn baby.

Evidence A

According to Farrell (2013), the science of prenatal genetic testing is still a new process in the field of medicine. Therefore patients ought to be very careful before deciding on conducting these tests. Farrell (2013) adds that various failures and false results have been observed in different tests performed all around the world leading to losing lives of healthy children with no genetic defects. Therefore, diagnostic test processes of the screened results are relevant and crucial whenever a prenatal test is conducted to pregnant women. Guilam (2007) asserts that pregnant women are advised to carry out this test since they have the ability to determine various genetic conditions that may be caused by chromosome abnormalities. Their results are considered relevant in establishing whether or not the fetus has various genetic problem. Therefore, innocent lives of unborn children can be saved. At the same time, the process conserves the health status of the mother, according to Gross & Shuval (2008), because the abortion of an unborn child is unhealthy for the woman's future health.

Reason B

Prenatal genetic tests cause unnecessary anxiety to the mother of the unborn child, as the parents find it hard to accept the positive results of the trials, making it extremely hard to decide whether to carry the baby with a defect or to terminate the pregnancy. Due to the connection already established between the mother and the baby right from the moment the mother knows that she is pregnant, the decision of termination can be hard. It is also difficult to process the future outcomes, as the mother may be afraid that all the children in the future will be exposed to the same conditions.

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Evidence B

Based on the research conducted by interviewing women that have undergone a prenatal test within one week, it is evident that the mothers suffer a lot of trauma and anxiety caused by the possible results. Parents who receive positive results experience profound emotional disturbance. Their suffering is exhibited in the form of anxiety for their unborn children and their future, especially if the mothers decide to keep the child until the birth process. Among the interviewed women, there was one candidate, who, two months after the birth of her baby, was still disturbed and horrified due to the fatal process she underwent during screening. Such cases may result in a rejection of future pregnancy, as the mothers may be fearing the outcomes (Ohman, Saltvedt, Waldenstrom, Grunewald, & Olin-Lauritzen, 2006). The mothers can also be suffering mentally for a long time as a result of false positive results from the tests, which can upset them emotionally during and after the pregnancy. Ohman et al. (2006) also add that the stress underwent during the testing process is completely unhealthy to both the baby and the mother.

Reason C

The prenatal genetic test is considered harmful both to the health of the mother and the baby. At the same time, it can be blamed for causing unnecessary stress that can be transmitted to the baby in the womb. As a result, the fetus may be born defective even if the test result yielded no genetic defects. This defect may even develop along with the child after birth.

Evidence C

It is evident that prenatal test always leaves the mother of the unborn child in a worse position than she was before. In the case of a positive result, parents think that the baby is defective and should therefore not be allowed to live as defective genes can be passed on to other future generations (Guilam, Cristina & Correa, 2007). Research also shows that in Brazil prenatal genetic advice is given to future mothers who wish to take the test. Physicians explain the potential risks of the process to the patients, which leaves the mothers with a choice. Thus, they are less likely to experience stress which extends to the fetus. Farrell (2013) states that the stressful condition of the mother may distort the development of the fetus and, thus, the child may be born defective only because of the mental sufferings of the mother. Farrell (2013) further explicates that the prenatal test is known to cause shock to the patients, as the choices offered by the doctors may be contrary to the actual expectations of the mothers.

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The Summary of Counterarguments

The prenatal genetic test may be helpful for the mothers, since real and correct results of the trial may establish the actual condition of the future baby's health and therefore prevent further development and birth of a genetically defective fetus. This knowledge enables the child's parents to avoid a potentially terrifying surprise of the defect of the baby after it is born and grown. Panter-Brick & Fuentes (2010) suggest that it is important to prevent further spread of the detectible genes to future generations. If the baby is born and grows with them, then they will be passed on to the future offspring.

The prenatal test is also necessary in order to establish the health status of the mother, since it may prevent abortion and a withdrawal of a healthy baby. According to Farrell (2013), parents may judge the genetic defect of the child based on the health condition of the grandparents. Therefore, they may wish to terminate the pregnancy to avoid bearing a child with possibly defective genes. However, genes are not always transferrable, and, therefore, prenatal tests need be conducted for this reason. Gross & Shuval (2008) suggest that the mother may also be relieved of stress and shock, as the results may prove that the baby is healthy and the pregnancy should not be terminated.


When a mother discovers the fact that she is carrying a live baby within herself, constant fears and joys become integral parts of her life, since she may never be sure of the health condition of the child. She can only find out about the possible health problems by conducting a prenatal test, which may be risky both to her and the child's health. The dangers involved in the process, as demonstrated in this essay, outweigh the benefits of this screening process. Mothers should, therefore, be careful about conducting prenatal test. Moreover, they should be mentally prepared for the outcomes as they may be unexpected. The testing process has proven to be abusive both to the mother's physical and mental health.

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