Amniocentesis has come about to be an effective and widely used trend in today’s world. It is a trend that has started to develop very recently. As a new technology, it is still in its primary stages. New developments are being made in this field but none of them have been established right now. In general amniocentesis is described as a process of drawing amniotic fluid from a pregnant women’s womb with a long needle to find out about the sex of the child and also look for any genetic disorders that the child may be carrying, that might affect the child after it is born and as it grows up. More and more pregnant women are using this process to ensure a safe health of their babies but, like everything else, it has its long term effects which cannot be overlooked, and in the long run can have certain effects which can destroy any healthy family.
Amniocentesis is one of the processes of the broad subject matter of prenatal genetic testing. One major significance that the trend is going to have as researchers are thinking on it is the use of amniotic cells as amniotic stem cells. As more and more studies are going on in this topic the researchers have found that stem cells can be extracted from the amniotic fluid with the potential for therapy. Research has also found out that the stem cells that are extracted from the amniotic fluid have properties that resemble the properties of embryonic stem cells. One of the biggest significance that this research is going to have is that during amniocentesis a lot of cells are routinely discarded from the womb and scientists and researchers can use these cells as amniotic stem cells without posing any harm to the fetus or correctly the still developing embryo. People, especially pregnant ladies, think it will be a good thing that they will be able to help in a good cause while retaining what they want to and not harming what they don’t want harmed (survey). The use of embryonic stem cells is a very sensitive and controversial issue and now the finding that the cells extracted from the amniotic fluid can also do the same thing without having the highly objectionable consequences is going to give people some time to think about the use of embryonic stem cells and see if there is any situation in a persons life when that person wants an abortion. Well, rather than kill the fetus all together, it can be given up to be used for research and in that way help humanity.
Amniocentesis started out as a procedure which was used to determine the sex of the baby before it was born. The doctors bring out some of the amniotic fluid from the mothers womb and test the cells to see the kind of chromosomes it has. This side of amniocentesis has also been used to preselect the gender of the baby before it was born. That became a very controversial issue, because a child’s determination of gender in the womb gender is natural process and according to the protesting people it should not be tampered with. But it is still used widely in some parts of the world where the reason to do this to some extent is the existence of gender discrimination.
Although living and being born in United States of America a child (girl/boy) would not experience gender discrimination. They are told from the start that they are equal and can do everything like each other. This discrimination has various levels of existence, but the saddest level of all these is its existence among babies. In developing countries girls are still considered to be a burden and an extra expense added to the family. The poor families who barely survive are more annoyed when a new born in their family happens to be a girl. In these developing countries, since childhood girls are told that they are second in everything they do except that they are first in causing the family trouble for no visible reason. Boys are always put on a higher pedestal than the girls are, moreover girls are not given any kind of pedestal at all. According to Julie Mullins in “children in a world of violence” “Discrimination against girls and women in the developing world is a devastating reality. It results in millions of individual tragedies, which add up to lost potential for entire countries. Studies show there is a direct link between a country’s attitude toward women and its progress socially and economically. The status of women is central to the health of a society. If one part suffers, so does the whole”. Certain obstacles are put in a girl’s path as she grows up like-sex trafficking, abuse, neglect, dowry, labor etc. All this affects the girl emotionally and breaks them down. Earlier when amniocentesis did not exist people either had to deal with girl child or used to kill them after they were born. But, now as amniocentesis is available and can detect the sex of the child while still in the womb, people in especially developing countries go through this process just to find out the sex and if it is a girl a lot of them get it aborted. In a sense amniocentesis has taken this gender discrimination phenomenon to a level where it could not go before.
Amniocentesis is a very safe process and at the same time also a very useful process. People earlier thought that it is a process that may provide harm to the mother and the child inside her, but, scientific studies have proved that it does not have any harm on the mother or the child. The pregnant women who were earlier scared of amniocentesis can rest easier now. They had a fear that having an amniocentesis test would increase the chances of them having a miscarriage. In general it is said that 1 in 200 women are in risk of having a miscarriage due to amniocentesis. But two new studies by two different institutions have proved that this process has become safer. According to a study performed The University of California, San Francisco, 1 in 370 women have a chance of having a miscarriage due to amniocentesis. According to another study by Mount Sinai school of medicine, 1 in 1,600 women will go through miscarriage. So, these studies prove that amniocentesis is a very safe procedure and can be and should be done by the pregnant women to be sure that the fetus inside them does not have any genetic abnormalities. After learning about these statistics, more people in the surveys I did were consoled that they would undergo the procedure of amniocentesis to ensure the safety of their child. It is very simple to notice how the human mind can sometimes very easily take the simple data produced in front of it and conclude on undergoing for something big like amniocentesis.
Amniocentesis having been developed at such a constant rate, now also provides for pre-selecting how a couple’s baby will look. This is a controversial issue. People now sometimes do not use their own genetic material, instead they go to labs and find the embryo that they want implanted in their system, so their baby can be perfect or the way they want it to be. This is a long term effect that amniocentesis will cause, or to say has started to cause. It plays with nature and tampers the natural process. But, this process also helps some families who have a history of genetic disorders in their family and it has been passed down from generation to generation. They have a reason to pre-select their baby, so a healthy gene enters a family which can eventually help reduce the next generations chances of getting the genetic defect.
Amniocentesis is done around the 16th week of the pregnancy. It looks out for genetic abnormalities like Downs’s syndrome, spinabifida cystic fibrosis and tay-sachs. It is generally recommended for women whose family has a history of genetic disorders or if the woman is above the age of 35 and is having a baby. In that case the baby has a higher chance of having a chromosomal disorder. Since it does not have a very huge cost associated with it, it is possible for an average human to do it once in their lifetime, for any kind of worry that may be troubling them about the pregnancy. This process does not have any harmful consequences, but it depends because there is still research going on in this field and that will tell if this is going to affect us in a negative way or not.
Amniocentesis itself is a cost effective procedure, but if the test proves that the baby certainly does have some genetic defect, then the cost effectiveness of this process becomes cost expensiveness. Selecting the genes planning everything ahead of the baby’s arrival and paying everything becomes very expensive for the family. That is why a lot of people come to know of their baby’s disorder but cannot do anything for the lack of financial freedom. That is a setback that can traumatize families, the fact that they know their baby is genetically sick but they cannot do anything.
Amniocentesis is a process that is both helping and harming people. It has too many long term effects associated with it once a parent finds out about their baby’s disorder. But, science is developing and it provides for solution for everything. For a general check up to ensure good health of the baby, amniocentesis should be done by everyone.