Prenatal Testing: A Sociological Perspective

Prenatal Testing: A Sociological Perspective

Prenatal Testing: A Sociological Perspective

Prenatal Testing: A Sociological Perspective

Synopsis

Testing for genetic abnormalities has transformed pregnancy and motherhood, and the recent discoveries by the Human Genome Project affect us all. In this updated version of their important book with its new Afterword, the authors have incorporated the most recent prenatal testing information. Using their own research, the authors analyze the psycho-social and ethical implications of genetic testing. Among the issues discussed in the new Afterword are the spread of prenatal testing, the changing meanings of pregnancy, and the perils and promises of the Human Genome Project.

Excerpt

Fittingly enough, only the collegial kindness of two women helped me to retain a tenuous link to academic research. In my first graduate school I was the only woman in my department at the course-taking stage; at my doctoral institution I encountered overt sex discrimination from the department head. Small wonder that I remained an outsider and neither sought nor was offered academic employment upon receiving my degree.

After I had spent a few years carving out a nontraditional career, the late Leila Rosen Young invited me to participate in a panel at the Eastern Sociological Society meetings on building a career outside of academia. It was a novelty for me to be invited rather than rejected by a research social scientist. Then in 1982, Aliza Kolker called to invite my participation in a study she wanted to conduct of women who had used the then innovative technique of amniocentesis. Aliza, who had just had the test herself, knew of my interest in reproductive health, and she thought that my demographic and medical sociological training under Dr. Renee Fox would complement her sociological skills.

I welcomed the chance to be nosy about intimate matters, never thinking I was adding a permanent branch to my career. Soon advancing technology -- the coming of CVS -- raised additional research topics, and then we expanded our scope to include the viewpoint of counselors. I had primary responsibility for the counselor study and Aliza for the client survey; we were jointly responsible for the client in-depth interviews. Our contributions remained amazingly equal.

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