Prenatal Testing: How Much is Too Much Information?
Rough is a carrier of a rare genetic disorder called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. The disease is characterized by an inability to sweat, which, as Rough noted, may not sound serious, but it caused great suffering for her grandfather throughout his life. Rough and her husband ultimately decided in favor of prenatal genetic testing to determine whether their baby had the disorder.
Prenatal testing has its advantages. Parents may want to confirm whether their baby will be born with a genetic disease to prepare themselves emotionally and practically. Waiting for the results, as Rough notes, can be stressful.
But perhaps the most difficult thing about prenatal testing is the weight of knowing one's infant will be born with a genetic disorder if the test is positive. In this situation, a genetic counselor may help. Prenatal genetic counselors educate individuals and families about genetic disorders and can make recommendations on caring for a baby born with a genetic illness. Counselors can also inform expectant couples on other options, including adoption or ending the pregnancy.
Deciding against prenatal testing is one way to avoid the dilemma of what to do if test results indicate that the fetus has a genetic disorder. But according to Rough, "Choosing not to test is still a deliberate choice. If we didn't want our children [to have HED], we had to act."
Dr. Samuel Wood, medical director of Reproductive Sciences Center in San Diego, suggests couples undergo genetic testing prior to getting pregnant. But even if you're already pregnant, "You have to feel you made the best decision. Not all people who opt for testing end the pregnancy. They want to be sure they have the right care for the baby from minute one."
2019 May 10 and 12: Happy Mother’s Day! Whichever day you celebrate, make this...Read More
As a parent, you know your child best. And if you have concerns (or know) that...Read More
Self-care: that buzzy compound word of the moment. Just hearing it can immediately...Read More
Young children, especially those who are abused or who have unhealthy relationships...Read More
The grocery store outburst. We've all witnessed it. A red-faced toddler screaming...Read More
Have five minutes? Help your child learn and grow in just five minutes or less,...Read More
When mid-way through her pregnancy, Nicte Mack found out that her baby would be born...Read More
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, preconception health—a...Read More