Eugenics and Mandatory Informed Prenatal Genetic Testing: A Unique Perspective from China

Developing World Bioethics 16 (2):107-115 (2016)


The application of genetic technologies in China, especially in the area of prenatal genetic testing, is rapidly increasing in China. In the wealthy regions of China, prenatal genetic testing is already very widely adopted. We argue that the government should actively promote prenatal genetic testing to the poor areas of the country. In fact, the government should prioritize resources first to make prenatal genetic testing a standard routine care with an opt-out model in these area. Healthcare professions would be required to inform pregnant women about the availability of genetic testing and provide free testing on a routine basis unless the parents choose not to do so. We argue that this proposal will allow parents to make a more informed decision about their reproductive choices. Secondarily, this proposal will attract more healthcare professionals and other healthcare resources to improve the healthcare infrastructures in the less-developed regions of the country. This will help to reduce the inequity of accessing healthcare services between in different regions of China. We further argue that this policy proposal is not practicing eugenics.

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Zhaochen Wang
Zhejiang University

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