Barbara Delinsky Reading Group and Q&A discussion

Genetic tests -- good or bad?

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Barbara (barbaradelinsky) | 33 comments Mod
DNA science is advancing every day. We can now do tests that will tell us what percentage we are of four races -- African, Asian, European, and Native American. Paternity tests, like the one done in FAMILY TREE, are easy, non-invasive, and cheap.

Do you think they help? Did Hugh help or hurt his marriage by demanding a DNA test?

Do you think genetic tests that determine predisposition to disease are helpful or hurtful? Would you want to know your chances of getting, say, Alzheimers disease, given that there is no cure?

message 2: by Libby (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Libby Kuntz | 9 comments I thought Hugh hurt his wife by jumping to have a DNA test. I would have wanted to have a heart-to-heart discussion about this. I would have needed to understand why he felt this was a good decision. As a wife, I would have challenged him to stand up to his parents' accusations, not try to "prove" the truth. It would have been very difficult for me to get over not being trusted and not having our child accepted and loved from the beginning.

I would probably be slow to have a test that showed my chances of getting a disease. Unless someone was really unnable to carry on and have a normal life without knowing if they had a disease, I'd think it would create anxiety. It seems like a person would look at a 25% chance of getting a disease and start self-fulfilling that percentage into a reality. I'd rather not know I might get a disease unless there was something I could do to prevent or treat it.

message 3: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 7 comments I also think Hugh hurt his marriage by demanding the DNA test. I think it sent the message that he didn't trust his wife, which is something that cannot be apologized away. I felt bad for Dana when he made that demand.

I work in the judicial system and we handle a lot of child custody cases where the fathers demand paternity tests. So far, every test that has been done has shown that the father IS in fact the biological father of the child in the case. It's kind of sad, but I do think genetic tests serve a very valuable purpose for the legal system.

Personally, I wouldn't mind having a DNA test to find out what percentage of the four races are in my bloodline. I think it would be really interesting. As far as getting the test to find out what diseases I might be predisposed to, well, that's a tough one for me. Sometimes, I think just knowing what your family medical history is can be helpful and allow you to be aware of what to look for. Cancer (breast, lung, bladder, and prostate -- I'm not likely to get prostate cancer though) runs in my family on both sides and noncancerous fibroid tumors are also common in the women in my family on both sides. With that knowledge, I have made my doctor aware and we both have worked to check for changes that might indicate that a lump or growth might need to be further examined. I don't think I need a genetic test to tell me if I'm going to get Alzheimer's or breast cancer or ovarian cancer, I'll just pay attention to family medical history and go from there.

message 4: by Barbara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Barbara (barbaradelinsky) | 33 comments Mod
I agree with both of you about testing for a disease. My mother died of breast cancer. My sisters and I were watched closely and have all now actually had it, too, but are well and cured (yes, I use that word). In theory, I could have genetic testing done to see if I have the gene, but since I only have sons (who are aware of the small risk to them), I haven't done it. I do have granddaughters now, so may want to know. But not yet. What to do with that knowledge but worry, when a child is only three?

message 5: by Gretchen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Gretchen | 8 comments I didn't like it when Hugh wanted a DNA test, in this case. I think there is advantages though in real life (different scenarios).
For instance, we had to have amnio/dna testing on my son. As it turned out he has a very rare chrosmosome disorder. Knowing this gave me some insight to what could be wrong, what to expect and how to go on. Once Simon was born, I hit the ground running with doctors and therapists.

I would never approve prenatal testing for choosing life however.

message 6: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 7 comments I also agree that DNA tests have valuable advantages in our lives now, like with Gretchen's amnio test. I hadn't thought about that scenario. Amnio/DNA tests serve a very valuable purpose, and I think can help parents prepare for all kinds of things if the tests come back with possibilities of disorders. My friend's daughter has Prader-Willi and Velo-Cardio Facial syndromes, I'm not sure if she had an amnio, or even if the amnio showed the syndromes, they are both pretty rare, but I think if they had been given the information about the syndromes it would have been helpful so they could start researching it sooner rather than after Tyra was born. They didn't know until she was 4 months old that she had these two syndromes, mainly cause the doctors didn't know what was initially "wrong". It's been a long road, but we all have been doing a lot of research to figure out the future of this little girl. I would use an amnio/DNA test to do research to figure out what I needed to do to give my child a great life and future.

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