For the first time, researchers have determined virtually the entire genome of a fetus using only a blood sample from the pregnant woman and a saliva specimen from the father.
The accomplishment heralds an era in which parents might find it easier to know the complete DNA blueprint of a child months before it is born.
The good news: It would help parents identify genetic diseases before their child is born. The bad news:
But the ability to know so much about an unborn child is likely to raise serious ethical considerations as well. It could increase abortions for reasons that have little to do with medical issues and more to do with parental preferences for traits in children.
I've believed that if a certain science or technology "can be done," it will be done. Ethical considerations always come later, if at all. To raise ethical questions opens one up to charges of being "anti-science." But raising such questions also makes one more human, in the best sense.