February 17, 2010

The Article Every Expecting Parent Must Read

This article absolutely blew me away.  It is about the heel prick that is commonly done minutes after the birth of a baby, and is meant to test for genetic disorders.  You can read the article here.

Basically, I have never thought too deeply about this simple test or weighed its pros and cons.  Its detractors claim that it allows the government to maintain genetic information on the child; that it involuntarily includes parent and child in genetic research; and that it may lead to future discrimination by a theoretical insurance company, if a problematic gene is discovered.

Ok, those could be some significant problems, especially for the paranoid.  And nobody wants to hear their newborn cry when their heel is pricked.  So what's the benefit, and why am I still for it?

Because it identifies many rare genetic disorders, often with simple treatments, that can otherwise be fatal.  Follow-up tests are generally required for a solid diagnosis, but this early identification can give your doctor a step ahead to narrowing down a problem.  Or even preventing a problem all together, saving you and your baby pain and anxiety.

I really encourage any expecting parent to read this article.  But to summarize my opinion after reading, you'd be crazy not to get this simple test done.  It could save your baby's life.

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