New Article: Interview with a Genetic Counselor

Concluding our theme of bioethics this month is an interview with a genetic counselor, Merideth Sanders. Is Genetic Counseling for You? Where will this profession be in another generation? Or even another decade?

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The article is a bit old, but it addresses a question that I have often asked myself.

If you are 40+ you may have remembered a guy named Jimmy the Greek (real name Jimmy Snyder). He was a sports commentator/handicapper that got himself into trouble by making racist statements about black athletes. Later in life I found out that 3 of his 5 children had cystic fibrosis, and due to the lack of treatment during that time they died young and suffered greatly. It was also known that cystic fibrosis was an inherited condition requiring two recessive genes, one from each parent.

This is an ethical dilemma that has given me pause many times over the year. To be clear, I’m not saying that we should ban parents from having children because they carry the CF gene. However, it does raise a lot of ethical questions. Is it ethical to have children knowing that there is a very real chance they will die young from a painful disease?

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