October 24, 2019 in Research
Ethical Issues and Genetic Manipulation

Assignment 1

Parents may want a child of a particular sex for several reasons. Sometimes such an intention has serious motives. There are a number of genetic diseases transmitted by sex. On the other hand, this wish is often motivated by the desire to balance a family, where already grows a child of the opposite sex. Sometimes a couple wants to have a boy who could take care of the younger sister as a firstborn child. Someone believes it is important to preserve the family name. There are more rare, but well-founded reasons for this. For example, the last name is transmitted only through the male line. The most serious argument against arbitrary selection of sex claims that this procedure violates the gender balance in the society. Some Eastern cultures, particularly China, South Korea and India, traditionally give preference to boys. Knowing that the girl sooner or later leaves the family, the parents would like to have a son who could work in the fields and later would be able to take care of elderly parents, especially in rural areas. However, in order for this to happen in reality, a combination of two conditions must occur. The preference for one sex to another in the community should exist, as well as the mass conversion of parents to sex selection techniques. 

On the other hand, the absolute prohibition of sex selection does not resolve the problem. If parents want a child of a particular sex, they will find a way to get this information, but it is possible that it will be inaccurate. Moreover, withholding the results of medical examination from parents is contrary to the principles of the relationship between doctor and patient and it violates ethical standards. However, I think that sex selection should not be allowed except for the cases of possible future genetic diseases. I feel that the sex of a child is irrelevant in the upbringing, and unwillingness of parents to raise a child on the basis of gender cannot be considered as a sufficient reason. Moreover, I prefer not to choose the sex of my child in the future. In fact, I am happy that my parents also did not want to select the sex of their child because now I would not be able to answer the question if they would prefer a child of the opposite gender.

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Assignment 2

The problem of provision of the individual’s right to non-discrimination on grounds of health and human genotype is rather complicated in insurance legal relationship. High insurance risks confirmed by genetic tests and known to the insurer can entail the rejection of the health insurance contract, or it will be concluded on extremely unfavorable conditions for the policyholder. Moreover, the concealment of information about health and heredity status may have negative consequences on the stage of signing or execution of the contract for the insurer or the insured person. I consider the weak insurance policy for genetic diseases as a discrimination compared to other health issues. The risk of future genetic disease is similar to any other kind of risks. Therefore, the insurance policy should expand the list of insurance cases and reorganize the whole policy in relation to the risks genetic disorders. 

On the other hand, this step will bring new issues and controversial questions. The interest of the insurer to the genetic tests results of a potential company client is distinct. They seek to prevent the possibility of deception of the true state of health and predisposition to certain diseases and try to avoid personal insurance for a large sum. However, transfer of genetic testing results to the insurance company may infringe the rights of individuals to privacy and result in discrimination against certain categories of people. In addition, these genetic tests results can, in the wrong hands, ruin careers, personal and family life and cause financial harm. Moreover, other personal information may not be less sensitive to the individual. Therefore, every citizen must receive the confirmation and guarantee of confidentiality of information transmitted to the insurer (mode of professional secrecy).

Assignment 3

If I found myself having the Huntington’s disease, I would definitely tell all the truth to my children. Kids that talk with parents about the most important do not hesitate to ask for help when they need it, and openly talk about their doubts and concerns, rather than build different fantasies, illusions and fears. I feel that every child is unique, and only parents can develop a strategy for disclosing the diagnosis that is appropriate for their child. Some families want to talk with the child in private, without the involvement of outsiders, but in some cases they need help of the professionals. On the other hand, parents should not expand the circle of people involved in the first conversation. They need to understand that disclosure of the diagnosis process is like any other process, and it requires careful planning, preparation and time for implementation.

No matter how hard it will be for me to discuss my condition with the child, this should be done. To be honest with the child means to respect him/her. Treat the kid as an equal interlocutor means to instill in him/her the right attitude to himself/herself. I must take into account that there is a possibility that the child will hear my diagnosis from strangers, and for him it could be a great shock. The talk about the genetic disease can also be the basis for a conversation about future perspectives. I think that I will accept any decision of my children. In case they do not want to have children in the future I will support them as much as I can. In case they decide to have kids, I advise them the genetic tests in order to increase chances for a healthy child.

Assignment 4

The discussion of future ethical problems must occur in the community long before their appearance. In my opinion, the society should be ready to face problems and have time to find the solutions. The example of nuclear energy shows us that we should discuss ethical dilemmas before they occur. Almost every individual thought that nuclear energy is safe and controlled. However, the use of nuclear weapon in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and accidents at nuclear power plants changed the attitude to all atomic science. Military and civilian use of nuclear energy has generated a lot of moral and ethical issues.   

The inability to consider all case scenarios is a reasonable argument. On the other hand, early discussion makes person to concern about the problem and to feel responsibility for its solution. I suppose that high level of public concern about atomic science could help to prevent terrible disasters and save millions of lives. The appearance of nuclear energy imposed on person the responsibility for the fate of the world. People got the right to determine the future with such unprecedented destructive weapon. However, the fear of self-destruction of the mankind increased the role and value of human interests and values. Now the society has a chance to not repeat the mistakes of nuclear energy and avoid future issues in genetic technology.

Assignment 5

The article named “Case Explores Rights of Fetus Versus Mother” shows the example of a rude intrusion of the state in the mother’s life. Despite the existing of the list of personhood criteria, the rights of fetus remain a controversial question. I believe that the Government should not force the mother to any actions until rights of the unborn child will be clearly defined. The example of Ms. Beltran demonstrates that excessive concern sometimes may do more harm than good. One cannot imagine the stress that Ms. Beltran experienced. She lost her job and spent a significant amount of time in a special center, and the joy of motherhood turned into a nightmare.  

The cruel irony of this case lies in the fact that the fetus had more rights than the mother. Moreover, social workers and physician assistant did not believe Ms. Beltran even after test results. Medical experts prove that the information about drug risks for an unborn child is extremely exaggerated as well as the reaction of pro-life activists. This article made me think about how far a person can go in attempt to prove his/her case to another individual. I feel that pregnancy is extremely personal experience, and only a mother can take the final decision. I believe that this case will help to avoid similar violations and intrusions in the future.

Assignment 6

The article titled “I Had My DNA Picture Taken, With Varying Results” raises the question about the appropriateness of genetic testing. The accuracy of the results depends on the type of analysis and its purpose. The DNA examination can confirm or refute the diagnosis of a medical condition with high probability if relevant symptoms are available. On the other hand, the fact of detection a genetic predisposition to a specific disease does not necessarily give the required information on when the disease will occur and how it will develop. In addition, awareness of the presence or absence of a genetic defect can sometimes bring not only benefits but also harm. 

In many cases, genetic tests do not provide completely reliable results. People continue to doubt and worry after the test no less than before it because their status is not fully understood. I feel that subjective reactions of others to the results of genetic testing, such as an unfavorable attitude from potential employers or representatives of health insurance companies also have a negative impact. I think that DNA tests are not a reliable source of information at this point of development of medical technologies. However, I believe that this technology will become more helpful, reliable and affordable in the nearest future.


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