Choosing My Children’s Genes: Genetic Counseling

  • Y. Edward Hsia


We all want our children to be lovable, capable, happy and successful. We expect them to look like us, but we want them to inherit only our strengths and not our weaknesses. We certainly want their lives to be healthy and full. None of us would wish for them a shortened, painful, or crippled existence. As you have heard, however, medical science knows not only that a certain number of children will not be born whole, but that certain star-crossed families have a predictable high risk of having children born with specific disorders. The only genetic way we know to influence our children’s looks, intelligence and destiny, is by choice of our mates, since inherited characteristics are derived from both parents. There is no other known way to choose advantageous genes for our children. If, however, we were at risk of bearing children with genetic disorders, would we not want to know? Can we choose not to give our children harmful genes? How can the average couple find out about such risks? If they did know of such risks would it change their outlook and plans, particularly about having children? If families at risk did change their reproductive practices, what would be the consequences for their community and for society? The process of genetic counseling aims to give relevant genetic information to families at risk so that they can appreciate the nature and extent of such risks. References


Genetic Counseling Genetic Clinic Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Healthy Baby Single Gene Disorder 
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    This study has been made possible only because of the genetic counseling given by my colleagues, Drs. L.E. Rosenberg, M.J. Mahoney, T.D. Gelehrter and W.R. Breg, and because of the unstinting contributions to genetic counseling at Yale of our nurse-coordinator, Mrs. A. Waters and our social-worker, Mrs. R. Silverberg.Google Scholar
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    This work was supported in part by a National Foundation Medical Service Grant #C-41 and PHS training grant HD-00198–06.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Edward Hsia
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Genetics and PediatricsYale University School of MedicineUSA
  2. 2.Genetics ClinicYale-New Haven HospitalUSA

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