Parents can learn a lot about the genetic makeup of their unborn child these days. Of course, everyone wants to have a healthy child. And if you can find out early in pregnancy whether or not your child is genetically normal, of course you should, right? Why not start out in the best way?
There are so many problems with this. First of all, you can't test for every single genetic problem. For what it's worth, the amniocentesis I had when I was pregnant with Aidan was normal. When we did more testing after he was born, we found that he had the genetic mutation that causes Miller-Dieker, but it is such a rare disease that they don't routinely look for it. Some day, probably really soon, we'll be able to tell parents if there are any genetic problems at all -- but even then, it's not the whole story. Genes play out in different ways in different people.
Second, there are some really wonderful people out there with less-than-perfect genes. Aidan had many problems, but he was a beautiful, peaceful child, and our whole family loved him fiercely. He made us look at life and love differently and left us so much wiser. Most of the parents of disabled children I know feel the same way. These people have so much to give us -- and teach us -- and are no less worthy than anyone else.
Third -- and this is the part that gets left out of the conversation almost entirely -- being genetically normal is no guarantee of anything. An illness or an accident can change everything. A child can be perfectly healthy but get caught up in all the wrong things and break your heart a million times over.
Where do you stand on the issue? Will you have genetic testing done during pregnancy?