Genetic Testing: Ethical, Legal, and Religious Issues
The decision to have genetic tests may involve consideration of ethical, legal, and religious issues.
The discovery of a genetic disease may have legal implications. But the discovery of a genetic disease that is not causing symptoms now (such as breast cancer or Huntington's disease) should not affect your future ability to gain employment or health insurance coverage. A law in the United States, called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), protects people who have DNA differences that may affect their health. This law does not cover life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance.
Genetic tests may detect a
serious disease in a fetus that will greatly impact its life after birth and
impact the lives of caregivers. A pregnant woman who is considering genetic
tests may want to consider her ethical, social, and religious beliefs to help
her determine the actions she would take if test results are
A genetic test result is sensitive information. Your
confidentiality should be maintained and the release of information should be
limited to those who are authorized to receive it.
If you are thinking about having genetic tests, be sure that you clearly understand
the implications of all possible test results before you make your decision about
Genetic counseling can help you explore the
implications of possible test results.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.