Anxious For Nothing

It is at once both the most distinctly human behavior and the most technically de-humanizing that we have chosen to wield advanced science for no nobler end than designer babies. And for the plebes, the knock-off option: prenatal genetic tests for every disability you could imagine. Knowledge is power.

A new study reported on in a widely circulated article in the New York Times last week showed that several major prenatal genetic tests, however, are wildly off target. The five most common microdeletion tests—microdeletion tests screen for missing pieces of chromosomes that can result in a variety of intellectual disabilities—were all wrong more than 80 percent of the time.

The tests the Times studied were as much as 93 percent inaccurate. On average, for every 15 times they correctly identified a problem, they misidentified it another 85 times. They weren’t just wrong, moreover, but skewed heavily to the side of false positives. In effect, these tests are weighted to say a baby’s life will not be worth living.

It’s a jarring statistic, not least because some mothers will choose to abort their child if such tests come back positive.
Spring time maternity by Ashton Mullins is licensed under Unsplash