Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why Bother Developing Down Syndrome Tests?

Yesterday I wrote about Peter Singer, my least favorite bioethicist.

Today, here's a bioethicist asking a new question - do we actually need more and more sensitive Down syndrome tests? Chris Kaposy writes:
There is an inconsistency between the lived experience of people who have Down syndrome and the corporate arms race to develop new and better means for identifying fetuses with Down syndrome. Few people who live and work with those who have Down syndrome would describe it as a serious disability. The arms race to develop these tests is not being driven by the needs of people with Down syndrome or the needs of their families. Of course, a great deal of scientific ingenuity is needed to create novel tests, like the one Dr. Iles and his colleagues have recently described. For this reason, creating these tests might require a lifetime’s work. But the social utility of these tests is incommensurate with the effort needed to create them. In contrast to the scientist who devotes her life to the treatment of cancer, Dr. Iles’s devotion to create a test that helps parents to avoid the birth of people who tend to enjoy their lives seems somehow less ambitious, or off the mark.
Worth a full read.