Prenatal medical testing has long been a balance of risk with information. Submit yourself to tests and you can find out about the genetic makeup of your future child, but risk miscarriage and other complications. Omit the tests, and a pregnancy is safer, its outcome uncertain.
That’s how it used to be, anyway. Now, genetic tests are becoming so cheap and non-invasive that they could become as routine as an ultrasound. DNA from the fetus is known to float freely in the mother’s blood and can be drawn in seconds, to be later analyzed for things like Down syndrome.
What will this mean for parents who discover birth defects or diseases in their unborn children? It’s impossible to know precisely who a child will become, but a world in which parents are informed of their baby’s genetics just weeks after conception brings with it a lot of ethical dilemmas.
Erin Biba analyzes this in one of the most interesting medical articles I’ve read in a long time, at Wired Science.
“The result is a play that is anything but slow and laboured as writer Joe Penhall has not only kept it short but has turned the tables and made this about a male pregnancy and labour.” (via The well imagined Birthday @royalcourt (Rev Stan’s theatre blog))