Social Norms in Selective Reproduction: Implications for the Wide Offer of Genetic Screening Technologies
The ability to offer genetic information to inform reproductive decisions, for example through reproductive genetic carrier screening, expanded prenatal testing, or preimplantation embryo screening, is increasingly prevalent. A defining feature of such technologies is that they offer information on many genetic conditions in the one test. Common rationales for expanding the offer of such information include that the results can inform people’s decisions regarding selective reproduction or prepare them to parent a child with a genetic condition.
While it remains vital for providers to ensure that decisions about whether to undergo screening can be made autonomously, in alignment with one’s own values, focusing only on individual choice is deficient. It is also important that providers, policymakers, and bioethicists consider the social context in which such choices are offered and made, especially because these contexts and the norms they generate shape and influence individual choice, and such choices are going to become increasingly common.
Scholars of disability theory and feminist philosophy have argued along these lines for a long time. But the importance…
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