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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4041.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 9:30 AM

Abstract #113986

Reproductive genetic testing: Public opinion and options for policymakers

Susannah A. Baruch, JD1, Gail Javitt, JD, MPH1, Joan Scott, MS, CGC2, and Kathy Hudson, PhD2. (1) Genetics and Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202.663-5973, sbaruch2@jhu.edu, (2) Genetics and Public Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University, 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036

Federal and state policymakers are beginning to consider ways to address ethical, legal, and societal concerns about the rapidly advancing power of reproductive genetic technologies. These tests and procedures, such as carrier testing, prenatal genetic testing, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, combine genetics, reproductive medicine and assisted reproduction. Genetic testing on prospective parents, fetuses, or embryos created through in vitro fertilization, provides information about the possible outcomes of current or future pregnancies, information which can be used to make decisions about whether to attempt, continue or terminate a pregnancy, or to decide which embryos will be used to initiate a pregnancy. To illuminate the diversity of public opinion surrounding these issues, this paper will first describe an extensive in-depth study of public attitudes towards reproductive genetic testing including the public's views on appropriate regulation of the technologies. Second, to address the challenges faced by policymakers considering regulation of reproductive genetics, the paper will offer an array of policy options based on scientific, ethical, and legal analysis that could guide the appropriate development and use of these new technologies. These options reflect the diversity of the public's views and respond to concerns about clinical delivery, accuracy and safety, access, and ethical use. The paper will describe possible policy solutions through federal and state governments as well as the potential for private organizations to play new roles in oversight of these technologies.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to