Genetic Testing During Pregnancy And Its History

By: - Pregnancy - September 29, 2011
genetic testing during pregnancy and its history

Expectant mothers anticipate a lot during the course of their pregnancy and even before even conceiving to ensure against possible defects or diseases in their fetuses.  In recent years with the advent in genetic technology and continued research, genetic testing during pregnancy has become an ever increasingly popular request on the part of expectant parents to ascertain the health of the anticipated new addition.  The history of genetic testing reveals an amazing growth in the understanding of this interesting field of study, however there are ethical considerations and some modifications in the area of understanding genetics that we as human beings need to establish.

The history of genetic testing, you will be interested to know, goes back as far as 1665 in which cellular structures were discovered within plant and animal tissue which had nuclei.  These have since been established as being the main so called building blocks on which life is made. Many decades later, in the period between 1879 and the early 1880’s, a researcher by name of Walther Flemming found chromosomes, which we now call DNA.  This is the entire subject in relation to genetics and its research and thus began the study of genetics.

Many paediatricians and family doctors alike will recommend that a patient undergo genetic testing during pregnancy if the patient or the patient’s family has a demonstrated history of certain defects or disease.  This is done through the extraction of amniotic fluid from the sack in which the fetus is growing.  Done in about the third month of pregnancy, the doctor will explore a portion of the placenta for issues within the fetus.  The fluid can also be examined in a manner for which the actual gender of the child is known.  Other reasons for genetic testing during pregnancy is because of a sibling that has birth defects, earlier miscarriages, stillborns with evidence of genetic defects or the expectant mother is over the age of thirty-four.  While this isn’t a comprehensive or exhaustive list of reasons for genetic testing during pregnancy, your doctor will provide you with more information should you wish.

Through the history of genetic testing right up to genetic testing during pregnancy, much has been discovered and much yet has to be discovered but genetic testing during pregnancy has provided much needed information to the parents and health professionals alike in what to expect in the unborn child.

Photo: pregnancy – public domain photo –