Case Analysis: Fetal Testing for Down Syndrome

Prenatal screening for defects in the fetus plays an important, yet controversial, role in society.Fetal testing addresses the moral question of what kind of life is worth living.It also touches on what kinds of defects are too costly to society.Prenatal screening forces the parent and society, in general, to decide what quality-of-life standards are important.Parents are forced to decide if they would have a child with a disability and if the type of disability would influence their decision.The medical field and government presume that the large majority of parents would choose to abort upon discovering that they would have a child that was disabled in some way.Prenatal screening is morally wrong and will only contribute to the artificiality of modern society through genetic selection.
One of the most common prenatal screening tests is given for Down Syndrome.Down syndrome, or trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by an error in cell division that creates three copies of chromosome 21.Down syndrome is an extremely common cause of mental retardation, varying dramatically in severity among individuals.A newborn baby with Down syndrome is easily diagnosed, recognized by a flat facial profile, an upward slant to the eye, misshaped and small ears, short neck, Brushfield white spots on eyes, and loose skin on the back of the neck (NICHD, 2003).The chromosomal karyotype blood test is used to confirm the visual diagnosis.The degree of severity of Down syndrome cannot be known; the child may be very healthy and at the level of his peers, or the child may be unhealthy with many medical and social problems.Down syndrome can cause many medical problems like congenital hypothyroidism, hearing loss, congenital heart disease, visual problems, and seizures.
There is no way of knowing how developmentally delayed a Down syndrome kid will be, nor of knowing the intellectual and physical capabilities of the child….

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