Friday, October 20, 2006

Genetic Guilt

There was an interesting article about genetic testing and breast cancer today in The Independent, profiling a family and their decisions to undergo mastectomies.

Aside from the fact that this is an important tale of both the benefits and difficulties of discovering your own genetic susceptibility to cancer, what caught my eye was this quote:

Despite all this, Julie was devastated when her 29-year-old daughter, Jenny, was found to have the mutated gene. She will undergo a double mastectomy in January. Julie says: "I feel guilty, which I know is not rational. But it is my fault. I passed it on to her."

As if “mommy guilt” wasn’t multi-faceted enough! It’s not hard to imagine that many women (and men) may feel compelled to do whatever it takes to eliminate genetic abnormalities in their children, provided the opportunity to do so.

(Thanks to Dr. Hsien Hsien Lei’s “Genetics and Health” blog for pointing me in the direction of this article.) Published by Emilie Clemmons.

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