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Most genetic diseases are non-discriminating, blind to either race or class. But for some parents, prenatal genetic testing has turned what was once fate into choice. There are tests that can screen for hundreds of disorders, including rare ones like Huntington’s disease and 1p36 deletion syndrome. Should a prenatal diagnosis bring news of a genetic disease, parents can either arm themselves with information on how best to prepare, or make the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy. That is, if they can pay for it. Without insurance, the costs of a single prenatal test can range from a few hundred dollars up to $2,000.

And genome editing, should laws ever be changed to allow for legally editing a human embryo in the United States, could also be a far-out future factor. It’s difficult to imagine how much genetically engineering an embryo might cost, but it’s a safe bet that it won’t be cheap.

“Reproductive technology is technology that belongs to certain classes,” Laura Hercher, a genetic counselor and professor at Sarah Lawrence College, told Gizmodo. “Restricting access to prenatal testing threatens to turn existing inequalities in our society into something biological and permanent.”

Image: By Nogas1974 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47312175

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