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How do genetically disabled adults view selective reproduction? Impairment, identity, and genetic screening

Boardman, Felicity K and Hale, Rachel ORCID: 2018. How do genetically disabled adults view selective reproduction? Impairment, identity, and genetic screening. Molecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine 6 (6) , pp. 941-956. 10.1002/mgg3.463

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Background Genomic medicine is rapidly evolving, particularly in the domain of reproduction. Population carrier screening for a range of disorders is becoming possible using whole genome/exome sequencing. However, very little is known about the views of genetically disabled adults toward selective reproduction. Methods Forty‐three in‐depth qualitative interviews were carried out with adults living with different types of genetic condition, recruited through support groups and clinics. Interviews covered participants’ experiences of their condition and their views toward genetic intervention in reproduction. Thematic analysis of the data using NVivo 11 was undertaken, and participants were assigned categories as either supporting, not‐supporting, or having ambivalent views toward selective reproduction. Results The majority of participants (65%) expressed either disapproval of, or held ambivalent views toward, selective reproduction. Key reasons for non‐support included regarding genetic impairment as part of personal identity and the prioritization of social and environmental barrier removal. Key reasons for support of selective reproduction included negative and externalizing attitudes toward genetic impairment and a belief in the importance of informed reproductive decision‐making. Conclusion The degree to which participants identified with their impairment, more so than how they valued it, was significant in determining attitudes toward selective reproduction. Those who supported genetic screening viewed their impairment as separate to themselves, while participants who considered their impairment as integral to their identity were most likely to report ambivalent or negative attitudes. Policymakers and stakeholders considering the role of genetic carrier screening panels might usefully engage with adults affected by heritable disease as well as disability identity politics when considering the acceptability and social impact of genetic screening programs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 2324-9269
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 20 July 2018
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 08:13

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