Ask for a second opinion on genetic testing

The beautiful and moving “Georgie’s Story” was an excellent way to underline the theme of this year’s March for Life, that every life is meaningful. George Matysek gave us all a gift with this account of his child who died in utero.
There is one item in the article that deserves extra attention, because it is relevant for many other parents: At one point, in addition to the baby’s heart problems, George and his wife, Treasa, were told he had the genetic defect Trisomy 18. Several paragraphs later, we learned that was a false alarm.
Usually, parents are presented with genetic testing results as though the information is absolutely true. Rarely is any mention made of the uncertainty associated with such tests. The possibility of a false-positive is always there, but parents don’t know that. In addition to bringing heartbreak, the pressure to have an abortion is raised, and no doubt some healthy children have been killed because of false alarms.
All parents who receive adverse genetic test results need to insist on a “second opinion” and additional testing.
Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen
Deer Park

To read more letters to the editor, click here.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.