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In addition to the moral problems related to abortion, sterilization and contraception we are witnessing newer, more complex ethical questions connected with the process of conception, prenatal development and birth
- genetic counselling
- prenatal sampling
- gene therapy/genetic engineering (modifying the actual genetic codes to treat conditions)
Genetics, Birth and the Biological Revolution
There is much controversy over which changes are ethically acceptable.
This requires judgments about what conditions in our species are unacceptable:
- Lesch-Nyhan syndrome
-the particular sex of an embryo
Increasingly patients are being counselled about the statistical risk of conceiving a child with a genetic anomaly.
Is prenatal testing through PGD(preimplantation genetic diagnosis) or amniocentesis acceptable?
Are we going too far with technology?
If the Harrelson's had created embryos by IVF, would they be more justified in choosing the one they preferred, even if it happened to include the gene for dwarfism?
This happens at a wider level - community based genetic screening programs.
From this case study identify what are the advantages of genetic screening? What are the disadvantages? What other factors do we need to take into account?
Would it have been different if Mary Beth Whitehead had been a volunteer surrogate rather than a paid one?