The implementation of genetic tests should be done when the assessment of the clinical validity and utility is established. According to Borry, Shabani, and Howard (2014), the research done shows that genetics and genomics have advanced faster in the previous decade, but, unfortunately, they did not transform medicine as it was expected. For example, the genome sequencing used in testing the newborn has in many cases produced diagnoses different from the requested ones as well as unclear results. Similarly, commercial companies are now presenting on the market new genetic tests that do not entirely relate to the scope of the traditional health care system.
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In addition to the test, based on the results they found the same companies have also offered the recommendations on the changes in the lifestyles. These genetic testings have been a subject to criticism because they lack clinical validity and utility. Moreover, the companies do not have the adequate and qualified personnel as well as equipped laboratory to complete the process. For example, direct-to-consumer (DTC), a genetic test that is widely advertised and sold to the people, has raised doubts among the public because of impossibility to do it completely and positively.
It is ethical to require of individuals to undergo the genetic testing prior to their employment. The argument behind the process is that its benefit outweighs the negative implications. To start with, testing can significantly reduce the incidence of occupational disease (Visser et al., 2012). If a person is tested for genes, the company can use the information received from the tests to guarantee its prospective and current employees a better workplace where the environment is safe as well as to counsel them on how to keep themselves safe at work. Furthermore, analysts argue that screening the traits promotes personal freedom and helps people make correct decisions regarding their well-being.
However, the authority should not coerce individuals into testing, and they should decide themselves whether to undergo it or not since there are lots of concerns people might express about the tests. Some have argued that the process violates the workers’ rights as well as increases discrimination at work. For example, the United States experienced genetic discrimination in the 1970s whereby many institutions subjected sickle cell anemia carriers to harsh conditions such as freezing job opportunities and insurance covers (Slaughter, 2007).
Prenatal genetic testing should not be mandatory, but parents should be informed about the process and encouraged to make the choice. Likewise, the test should only be made if there is a strong indication that the unborn child will benefit from it as early as possible. According to Boardman (2014), genetic testing can help to inform the parents about the risk associated with a chromosomal abnormality and how its effect on the fetus. Once the doctor notices that the fetus is likely to have the genetic defect, he can successfully change its condition that can result in a healthy child after birth. However, groups protecting the rights of disabled people argue that the disability test in the fetus can lead to termination of pregnancy.
There are lots of social and public health ramifications of making the results of the test public. The Working Party of the Clinical Genetics Society has highlighted the potential harms associated with it, such as damage to the child’s self-esteem, distortion of the perceptions the child’s family has, loss of future, self-sufficiency and confidence, discrimination in schools, at work, and in insurance institutions as well as the inability to have future relationships (Borry et al., 2014).
The current protection practice in genetics is significant as far as the future of people is concerned. According to Borry, Shabani, and Howard (2014), it grants all people including children with the autonomy to make informed decisions on whether they want to undergo the testing and receive certain information about its outcome or no. It also gives them the freedom to control the use of their genetic material that can be analyzed in the future. Privacy and confidentiality are quite important especially for the minorities since they prevent from the disclosure of personal information which may not only cause potential harm to the child, but also disrespect the possible future desires of this child and undermine his or her independence.
However, in my opinion, there are insufficient mechanisms to safeguard the autonomy, privacy, and confidentiality. While the law gives individuals the right to forbid health care specialists the disclosure of particular personal health information, most institutions allow to disclose such information to avoid the risk or harm the person in question might face. For instance, in 2000 the railway firm in Burlington broke the law and conducted genetic tests on its employees without informing them. It was done to reject the workers’ compensation claim by showing that the carpal tunnel syndrome had a genetic basis. Also, a survey done in 2006 shows that the majority of people had shown dissatisfaction with the way various organizations handle their genetic information. They argued that most of the employers would use the same information to discriminate and give them unfair treatment (Slaughter, 2007). Moreover, in 2008 The Public Health and Health Care Council of Denmark also expressed doubts about genetic testing by stating that it does not sufficiently protect the rights and privacy of the citizens (Visser et al., 2012).
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