As with anything in life, it is important to know all sides of an argument so let’s compare some of the benefits and risks of genetic testing. Although, many understand that genetic testing has the ability of be extremely helpful, most tend to overlook the possible complexities.
- Could lead to discrimination when seeking insurance or medical assistance
- Increased abortion rate and subsequent genetic “underclass”
- Harmful psychological effects (ie depression, fear of getting older)
In the last post, I talked about how taking a genetic test could lead to problems with paying for the test, as well as for the subsequent procedure that may follow. Not to mention the fact that it could also lead to hiked up insurance prices.
The notion that taking genetic tests will lead to increased abortion rate and genetic”underclass” is an interesting one. The idea is that after finding out what diseases/problems your genes may carry, one might decide to not have children anymore or let go of the child they were currently carrying to save the child from a life of pain. This lack of births also lead to this genetic “underclass” I’ve mentioned. After being tested, many might believe that their genes aren’t worth the hassle of letting them live on in their offspring – thereby, creating the genetic underclass, as opposed to those who don’t carry any sort of major risks for diseases and cancers.
After finding out their genetics, many people become so discouraged by the list of possible diseases that may be coming their way that is leads to depression, fear of old age, and a sort of helplessness that sometimes leads to suicide. This is why many doctors recommend that before testing your whole family and interpreting the results yourself, it is of high importance to figure out what the results are actually telling you with the help of a specialist. For example, “only 7% of Australian genetic specialists reported they would be confident in interpreting and explaining the results of such genetic tests” as shown in a 2012 study. This means that you cannot and should not interpret your results yourself as it may lead to unwanted consequences.
PGx and genetic testing are wonderful tools to help you find out more about yourself and how to shield yourself from possible problems in the future. Also, greatly helping doctors to prescribe the best drug dosage and drug for their patient with the use of their genetic makeup, especially for those who must take more than 1 pill in a day.