Thesis assessing Prenatal genetic screening

Prenatal genetic testing can prove useful to many expectant mothers under certain conditions. For example, those with inherited illnesses, those with children born with severe defects, those who are high risk of delivering a still born, and women over the age of 34 all present as likely candidates for prenatal genetic testing. It can help them identify what may be wrong with the fetus and what steps to take if something is found. However, pregnant women not at risk for such problems stand not to benefit from prenatal genetic testing as the procedure can be unsafe for the fetus and mother and is not entirely accurate.


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Ethos means persuading a person through the persuader’s credibility or character. Prenatal genetic testing is performed by a qualified doctor who has experience, and a history of formal education. By having a qualified doctor perform the procedure, it may result in a positive outcome in terms of understanding what genetic conditions the baby may have.


Logos appeals to logic and so prenatal genetic testing may be useful to those inherited an illness or have family members with an inherited illness. It would seem that those with inherited genetic disorders who have high risk pregnancies would be the best candidates for prenatal genetic testing as it could help them identify any problems before the expectant mother gives birth.


Pathos is an emotional appeal and would be interpreted as guilt over not providing the best options for the mother and fetus in terms of early awareness of a condition. The opposite can be said with fear generated from performing such a procedure if it is not necessary and then experiencing complications during pregnancy.


Thesis: Prenatal genetic screening has grown in popularity as a choice for pregnant women in the United States. However, such procedure must only be used for high-risk pregnancies and for those with inherited genetic disorders due to the inaccuracy of both non-invasive and invasive procedures producing a greater risk of pregnancy complications and pre-term labor.


Prenatal genetic testing may not be as accurate as desired and can elevate the risk of preterm labor (Cook-Deegan, Conley, Evans, & Vorhaus, 2012).


Prenatal genetic testing allows the expectant mother to see if the fetus is at high or low risk of developing birth defects or having chromosomal abnormality (Roberts & Ostergren, 2013).


So many women have high risk pregnancies. The numbers are climbing due to the age of birth growing to age 40 or older and obesity becoming a prevalent health problem (Science, 2014).


The main question revolves around the recent innovations in prenatal genetic testing. Have any recent innovations led to an increase in accuracy? If so, this may provide some difficult in constructing an argument based on inaccuracy.


Week 2: Discussion 2:


Recent innovations in genetic testing has led some to believe it can be used more than it has in the past. “Genomic technologies are reaching the point of being able to detect genetic variation in patients at high accuracy and reduced cost, offering the promise of fundamentally altering medicine” (Katsanis & Katsanis, 2013, p. 415). However, there still exists ambiguity as it relates to genome-wide data and the lack of access certain regions across the globe have when it comes to next-generation sequencing abilities. That is why it is important to examine the range of methods and strategies available now including developing approaches in clinical molecular diagnostics to get a full picture of the potential and feasibility of genetic testing.


Still, although scientists and policy advisers grapple with how to interpret and how to handle the onslaught and ambiguity of genome-wide data, established and well-validated molecular technologies continue to have an important role, especially in regions of the world that have more limited access to next-generation sequencing capabilities. Here we review the range of methods currently available in a clinical setting as well as emerging approaches in clinical molecular diagnostics. Source text (Katsanis & Katsanis, 2013, p. 415).


The topic sentence supports the thesis because it questions whether or not genetic testing is feasible even with recent innovations. The quoted material adds to the paper because it shows there are recent innovations in genetic testing, but such innovations may not be accessible to everyone.


Week 3 Discussion 1:


Thesis statement: While prenatal genetic screening is widely advocated for pregnant women in the United States, prenatal genetic testing should be reserved for those with preexisting conditions and/or high-risk pregnancies as both invasive and non-invasive procedures may lack accuracy and carry a greater risk of preterm labor and pregnancy loss.


Claim: Genetic testing has expanded and includes preimplantation genetic testing.


Evidence: Genetic testing has grown to include testing at the embryo level with a procedure called PG or preimplantation genetic testing. Those who benefit from PG testing are those with advanced maternal age, severe male factor, recurrent pregnancy loss, and repeat implantation failure during IVF cycles (Brezina, Brezina, & Kearns, 2012).


Claim: While prenatal genetic testing has increased in accuracy, there are still worries over its use.


Evidence: NIPT or noninvasive prenatal genetic testing has a low false-positive rate, but may create legal, social, and ethical issues as its use expands. “The number of women using NIPT is anticipated to expand, and the number of conditions being tested for will continue to increase as well, raising concerns about the routinization of testing and negative impacts on informed decision-making” (Minear, Alessi, Allyse, Michie, & Chandrasekharan, 2015, p. 369).


Evidence: Public opinion on genetic testing has leaned towards positive in the last few years, however, worry still remains when it comes to inequity. “…results suggest that in 8 years, expectations of benefits and potential use of genetic testing have been raised among the public, resulting in more positive opinions. Worries on inequity remain” (Henneman et al., 2012, p. 793).


Claim: Controversy over genetic testing still exists today.


Evidence: Predictive genetic testing has grown to become a standard practice of care for asymptomatic adults with a risk for genetic disease. However, when genetic testing is applied to minors at risk of such conditions, there exists great controversy, generating a twenty-year long debate (Mand, Gillam, Delatycki, & Duncan, 2012).


Slippery slope can be used in the claim of people worrying about the potential drawbacks of genetic testing. There is this subtle fear that permeates society concerning novel testing methods. However, the hasty generalizations of genetic testing being helpful and applying it to a broad range of patients is also not useful. Women have various problems while pregnant that does not require genetic testing. In fact, it may add to the potential complications, which is why the evidence points to a worry over using genetic testing as it can become a standard protocol for testing in general that is not necessary if the patient is not high-risk. Concerning the appeal to logos, so many people assume doctors and researchers know best when it comes to medical procedures and scientific literature. However, there is always room for error and it is not always wise to accept at face value what a doctor offers as a potential option for treatment or testing. The use of supporting evidence while beneficial in alleviating any potential worries, is not the full picture. However, claims are able to point the reader in the right direction of what information to explore. In the end, it takes more information and analysis to truly come to a conclusion.




Brezina, P., Brezina, D., & Kearns, W. (2012). Preimplantation genetic testing. BMJ, 345(sep18 2), e5908-e5908.


Cook-Deegan, R., Conley, J., Evans, J., & Vorhaus, D. (2012). The next controversy in genetic testing: clinical data as trade secrets?. European Journal Of Human Genetics, 21(6), 585-588.


Henneman, L., Vermeulen, E., van El, C., Claassen, L., Timmermans, D., & Cornel, M. (2012). Public attitudes towards genetic testing revisited: comparing opinions between 2002 and 2010. European Journal Of Human Genetics, 21(8), 793-799.


Katsanis, S. & Katsanis, N. (2013). Molecular genetic testing and the future of clinical genomics.Nature Reviews Genetics, 14(6), 415-426.


Mand, C., Gillam, L., Delatycki, M., & Duncan, R. (2012). Predictive genetic testing in minors for late-onset conditions: a chronological and analytical review of the ethical arguments: Figure 1. J Med Ethics, 38(9), 519-524.


Minear, M., Alessi, S., Allyse, M., Michie, M., & Chandrasekharan, S. (2015). Noninvasive Prenatal Genetic Testing: Current and Emerging Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues. Annu. Rev. Genom. Hum. Genet., 16(1), 369-398.


Roberts, J. & Ostergren, J. (2013). Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing and Personal Genomics Services: A Review of Recent Empirical Studies. Current Genetic Medicine Reports, 1(3), 182-200.


Science, L. (2014). Prenatal Genetic Screening Tests: Benefits & Risks. Live Science. Retrieved 15 October 2016, from

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