Gene Testing

Gene Testing

Considering a number of issues, the testing of genes to determine whether an individual is at risk of a particular disorder may not be an agreeable affair to many. To begin with, the ordeal of looking for one’s risk to multiple disorders is highly costly. In the event that the results that indicate susceptibleness to a certain disorder/disease are reported to the insurance company, the premiums are as a result raised. The knowledge that one is predisposed to develop a specific complication may lead to stress and anxiety. Such complications may be an unnecessary burden because the complexity may never develop at all.

The lack of certainty is another factor that renders genetic testing for health disorder risk altogether a futile effort. Ideally, the test results only indicate whether an individual has a higher or a lower chance than the average person of developing said complications. For instance, the risk with a specific variety of gene mutation may be declared to have a 75% risk for breast cancer. Still, it is possible that it may never develop. Conversely, another individual whose test results indicated a 25% chance may end up developing the complication. Specific mutations only show the risk, but cannot precisely predict incidence.

There is a possibility that chromosome or gene mutation will not be detected in some people. This is more indicative of the fact that the current technologies are not capable of detecting some variations, especially when there are no significant genetic mutations. Moreover, genetic disorders are not the root cause for all diseases as both lifestyle and environmental factors also play a crucial role in determining the illnesses one will suffer from. On this basis, gene testing may not be a sure way of assessing the health risks that an individual faces. 

Another limitation to gene testing is that although some diseases may come as a direct consequence of faulty gene makeup, it is not necessarily true that the procedure will reveal this fact. Genetic tests are mainly limited to the testing of penetrant diseases-those that are strongly connected to a particular gene makeup. Furthermore, it is not possible to use the criteria to determine the severity of the disease incidence once it occurs. The process will only provide limited info about an inherited complication. In addition to not showing the seriousness of the condition once it occurs, there is no indication in the results as to how far the condition will progress. There is also a lack of strategic treatment plans for the illness once it occurs. 

Gene testing can prove to be an emotionally consuming affair; especially to children of under 18 years of age, as well as, adults who are unprepared to the verdict of the results. Upon receiving the news that they are 75% prone to get cancer, some may develop stress, guilt, anxiety, or depression. This may lead to additional health complications which are unfounded since cancer may never develop. Further, there are cases of individuals who may develop guilt as a result of the learning that some people in their family have certain gene mutations which they lack themselves. There is also the possibility of tension and panic within the family if the test results are shared. Therefore, I would not want to have my genes or that of my children due to the compelling consequences of the practice.