The Overselling of Genetic Anxiety
Goodman, Madeleine J.
Goodman, Lenn E.
Hastings Center Report. 1982 Oct; 12(5): 20-27.
Mass screening programs to detect carriers of Tay Sachs disease in the American Jewish population are described and criticized from an ethical standpoint. Educational programs promoting screening often trigger long-lasting anxiety among members of the target population. Other ethical problem areas include the co-opting of community resources and the dangers of stigmatization of carriers. In addition, cost-benefit analyses have been narrowly construed and have failed to demonstrate any clearcut advantage to mass screening. Finally, alternative approaches have been proposed to achieve the goal of preventing Tay Sachs births through individual counseling of high-risk couples. (KIE abstract)