In one of my classes this morning, we were learning about Huntington's Disease. a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to mental decline and behavioral symptoms. There is no cure for it, and full-time care is required in the later stages of the disease.
It results from a chromosomal mutation, with a high chance of being passed down to any children if you are a carrier. If you carry this mutation, your children will have a 50% chance of also developing Huntington's. Chances of developing depression are also in the higher range of 40-50% if either of your parents is a carrier of the gene that has a certain mutation that results in becoming depressed.
After learning all of that, the issue was raised was whether or not it is ethical for a parent who is a carrier of either genes with mutations that result in these two disorders, or a whole host of others? To give a child a 50/50 chance of also developign Huntington's or depression? Which brings a whole nother question to the other side of the argument. Is it ethical to tell someone that they can't/shouldn't have children because they are essentially a bit 'faulty'?
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That's a very good but difficult question :o
I think that if people are aware they have this genetic problem, they'd indeed better decide to stay away from getting kids.
An even more dramatic question is: when such person becomes pregnant and the echo shows the kid has a sydrome that will undermine its quality of life, what to do?
Ask this question and it would be a 50/50 for or against abortion :o0