Thursday, January 3, 2013

Genetic Testing for Children

This is a huge debate.  Should parents test their children for known genetic markers for various illnesses?  Should I test my two children, ages 5 and 3, for BRCA?  Is it beneficial to know sooner rather than later?  Is it taking away a person's rights to do with their body what they choose to test someone to young to make their own choice? 

TIME magazine debates this very topic in their latest issue.  Article- Click Here You will have to create a free account to read beyond the first couple paragraphs.

Genetic tests available include: Alzheimer's, Colon Cancer, Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Autism, Obesity and Early On-Set Alzheimer's. 

Would you test your child? 

We, Ray and I, chose not to test our children and stand firm behind that decision.  Here is our reasoning, it's not beneficial.  If one of our children has the BRCA mutation, the consequences will appear most likely much later in life, at least well after 18.  And if, in the rare event, they were diagnosed with a cancer related to the mutation before 18, we would not, and I would argue no doctor, would do prophylactic surgery or any preventative measures on a child under the age of 18.  I have actually hear of women under the age of 30 being turned down for prophylactic surgery.  Because of this, and secondarily, we believe in a woman's and man's right to choose and make decisions for their own body, we have opted not to test.  Rather, we will explain their risks and leave the decision in their hands when the time is right.  To each their own, as there are compelling arguments on all sides of this debate.  This is just own choice for our family and our circumstances.