Dutch Affairs / English

Playing for God?

Last week Dutch Secretary of State for Health Jet Bussemaker wanted to see pre-implantation genetic diagnostics and embryo-selection made legal in relation to the identification of serious hereditary cancers carrying a high mortality risk. When cancer gens would be detected in the embryo, it would be allowed to abort the pregnancy. Later on Bussemaker was forced by a Christian Party, part of three governing coalition parties at this moment, to withdraw this proposal. Now, the parliament has to decide whether to accept this proposal or not.

The objection of Christian Party is: no matter how small the embryo is, it is a life growing in a woman’s womb. One can not eliminate the pregnancy by executing pre-implantation genetic diagnostic. On the other side, women with hereditary breast cancers would love to see this proposal passes the parliament. They see this as chance to be able to have healthy children, to spare their unborn children of being severely sick. And how about this scenario, a woman wants a child so badly, she can not get pregnant on a natural way, she ondergoes an IVF. Then the embryo selection comes in the picture, which step does she takes? Ok, I imagine when this regulation would be legalized, it is a woman herself to decide what to with the pregnancy.

For me, this is a dilemma. I have an impression that Dutch Politicians want the extent to which life can be affected by government policies. I mean, how do women with hereditary cancers know in advance whether they unborn daughters will also suffer from breast or even cervic cancer? It is not that I undermine the technology & genetic studies, ok preventing is better than healing but still as an Asian I believe in a life path. What do you think about this matter?


4 thoughts on “Playing for God?

  1. I think the the proposal should be accepted and be able to be applied. I know people with very sick children, children who were sick since birth. It is heart breaking and it’s time consuming, not to mention expensive. I think we are given a brain to be used, and if scientists can find a way to make people have healthy children who will be able to enjoy their lives, why not? It’s not playing God, it’s just common sense.
    my two cents.

  2. Hi Rim,

    Firstly I should have written God with god. As I wrote in the article, I see this subject as a dilemma. I completely aware of the situation parents of very sick children deal with. I’ve been there myself as a sister then not a parent. At this point, I would love to see the regulation legalized. But once again, as an Asian I believe in a life path. This is my dilemma!

    Yet another side of story is that parents to be without any hereditary severe sickness in their medical history would implement this regulation. But I believe the conditions applying this regulation allow only ones who need it the most.

  3. My mom was pregnant with my little brother in Holland, at age 42, in 1980. The amnio test showed more than 750% chance of down syndrome. Doctor strongly suggest abortion. My mom was already wheeled into the OK for the procedure, when she suddenly refused. She chose to keep the baby. My brother was born healthy, with no down syndrome, and now working as a lawyer.

    Those kind of tests help everybody to prepare themselves, for better or worst. Seeing story of my brother, I believe we should let the mom/patient decide what they think is the best.

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