Ethics and Genetic Testing

Discuss how medical, economic, or psychosocial issues might impact decision making
relative to genetic testing.

A registered nurse should dutifully execute the role of providing health care to
newborns and their mothers who are already undergoing or considering treatment or
termination of embryos (Richmond-Rakerd, 2013). One example of how genetic testing is
used in the prenatal setting is to determine if a child would be aborted or not. In this regard,
conditions such as Down syndrome, genetic disorders, and sickle cell anaemia are identified
using such techniques as ultrasound, serum marker testing, and genetic screening (Richmond-
Rakerd, 2013). The diseases or complications are derived from genetic testing for carrier
testing, prenatal diagnosis, and predictive testing.
The registered nurse has no right to refuse to care for patients who choose termination
of the pregnancy based on genetic testing when it conflicts with the ethics and values of the
nurse (Richmond-Rakerd, 2013). This is because an embryo can be diagnosed with very
complicated complications such as neural tube defects, spina bifida, and thalassaemia.
Therefore, when this type of child is born, his or her entire life will be in danger. In this
regard, the practitioners have to violate the codes of ethics and terminate the embryo since the
future of the unborn child is not promised (Richmond-Rakerd, 2013). Thus, the practitioner
makes the decision based on feeling rather on specified ethics. One of the economic issues
surrounding making decision regarding genetic testing is based on employment. It is found
that health insurance providers and other employers deny individuals employment
opportunities using knowledge of the risk of disease. Socially, an individual is exposed to
stigmatization and discrimination in the society Reference (Richmond-Rakerd, 2013).
Psychologically, an individual may feel ashamed of himself or herself due to the knowledge
of the genetic risks.


Richmond-Rakerd, L. S. (2013). Modern Advances in Genetic Testing: Ethical Challenges
and Training Implications for Current and Future Psychologists. Ethics & Behavior,
23(1), 31-43. doi:10.1080/10508422.2012.728477

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