Susannah A. Baruch, JD, Genetics and Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202.663-5973, firstname.lastname@example.org and Kathy Hudson, PhD, Genetics and Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University, 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036.
Americans are both hopeful and fearful about the rapidly advancing power of scientists to manipulate human reproduction. Reproductive genetics, which combines genetics, reproductive medicine and assisted reproduction, involves a wide array of medical procedures and genetic tests that are conducted with the intent of informing individuals about the possible outcomes of current or future pregnancies. These tests, including carrier testing, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and prenatal testing, can determine whether an alteration is present that is causing or is likely to cause a specific disease or condition. This paper will discuss how reproductive genetics is influencing public health and public policy decisionmaking. The results of genetic testing on embryos or fetuses may be used to make decisions about whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy, or to decide which embryos will be used to initiate a pregnancy. Americans have deeply held and widely varied views about the moral status of the embryo and the fetus. One’s view of prenatal diagnosis and other reproductive genetic testing is likely to be influenced by those beliefs, and the public discussion of these new technologies reflects the controversy inherent in the topic. How should reproductive genetics be regulated? Will efforts to define legal “personhood” at a prenatal state affect future developments? As decision-makers struggle with how to guide the development and use of these powerful technologies, the options they consider must reflect society's values and priorities.
Keywords: Reproductive Health, Genetics
Related Web page: www.DNApolicy.org
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA