Are Parents Really Obligated to Learn as Much as Possible about Their Children's Genomes?

Hastings Center Report 48 (S2):14-15 (2018)
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Abstract

As new parents quickly learn, parenting always involves choosing your battles. Ideally, parents have the freedom to make those moral choices without the prejudice of an unreasonable or premature inflicted ought. Resolving the predictive uncertainties of genomic information is the professional responsibility of the biomedical community, just as clarifying the impact of global warming or assessing the risks of rising multidrug resistance is the responsibility of similar specialists. Until sequencing can give parents clear and meaningful information that they can use to protect their children without also burdening parents with uncertain findings about which little if anything can be done, it makes no sense to impute an obligation for them to seek it out. To do so not only increases the mental and emotional burden on parents but also distorts the scope of parental responsibility in ways that undermine parents’ capacity to play their immediate role as the nurturers of a new life.

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