This week, the Associated Press' Malcolm Ritter explores ethical issues raised by prenatal genetic testing in a two-part series. "Imagine being pregnant and taking a simple blood test that lays bare the DNA of your fetus," he says. While not yet commercially available, Ritter says these tests soon will be. The Center for Genetics and Society's Marcy Darnovsky tells Ritter that the possibility of prenatal genetic testing "really changes the experience of what it will be like to be pregnant and have a child," adding that she considers the technology a "game-changer." Stanford University's Hank Greely tells Ritter he expects that genetic tests that will screen for up to 200 diseases to become available within five to 10 years. Stanford's Mary Norton says that while she "doesn't believe the arrival of a blood test for DNA analysis would raise all the issues some observers cite," Ritter writes, she does believe the issues merit careful consideration. "I think that it is always better and helpful and important to bring up all of these issues, whether they are likely to really become reality or not," Norton tells the AP. "Once you've opened Pandora's box, it's harder to close it."
Jun 14, 2011