Course: College Writing, ENGL-101
Professor: Austrie Duarte
Assignment Title: Genealogically Testing Children’s DNA
In this assignment, I explored the ethics of DNA testing to conclude whether parents should be able to test their children’s DNA without a medical need. Most commonly, this is done through commercial services like Ancestry.com or 23andme. To find the answer to this question, I analyzed information about the medical rights of children within the United States, the privacy of information revealed by at-home DNA test kits, and the impact medical information can have on the mental health of a child. I researched information using both provided sources and sources found using the school’s database in order to reach my conclusion.
The information researched during my assignment impacted my personal life as it made me reconsider using an at-home DNA ancestry kit. Furthermore, as a secondary education minor, it is important for me to consider the impact this may have on the child as they develop. A child may not be able to fully comprehend how far and wide their genetic information can be spread until it is too late.
What did you learn? What answers did you come up with?
Through this assignment, I learned a lot more about the importance of medical privacy, and I learned a lot more about what companies can do with your information. I found out that within the United States, HIPAA laws were created in order to protect one’s private health information. However, these protections do not apply to most at-home DNA test kits, meaning the companies have no obligation to keep their customer’s information private. I also learned how fast this information can spread and how difficult it can be to regain control over one’s health information, making it an especially unwise decision to unnecessarily test a child’s DNA.
Challenges and Successes
One challenge I faced while completing the assignment was finding a balance of logos, ethos, and pathos to support my claims. During my research, it was easy to find a lot of scientific evidence and quotes from professionals about why DNA testing children is a bad idea, but it was difficult for me to find appeals to the emotions. However, with extra research, I found that genetic testing children can have a negative impact on their mental health. By looking into and discussing this potential consequence, it made my essay much more impactful and well-rounded, which I am very proud of.