Cover: Before Birth: Prenatal Testing for Genetic Disease, from Harvard University PressCover: Before Birth in E-DITION

Before Birth

Prenatal Testing for Genetic Disease

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details

E-DITION

$65.00 • €48.00

ISBN 9780674429178

Publication Date: 04/11/1990

111 pages

2 halftones, 1 line illustration

World

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

Information on prenatal testing abounds, but few books are addressed to prospective parents in need of practical guidance. In this comprehensive and sensitive account, Elena Nightingale and Melissa Goodman offer remarkably clear answers to the set of bewildering questions generated by the concerns of parenthood.

Prospective parents are given the guidance needed to make informed choices about whether or not to undergo testing and, if they elect to do so, how best to use the results. As humans, we are recipients of a rich genetic heritage. Each human cell contains 46 chromosomes with a total of 50,000 to 100,000 genes distributed among them. Such richness carries immense possibilities for error when gene replication occurs; it is therefore not surprising that gene disorders such as Down syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and neural tube defects pose a major public health problem. Rapid development of sophisticated new techniques has vastly increased our ability to diagnose genetic disorders during the prenatal period. For example, the amniotic fluid sampled in the middle trimester can be tested for such biochemical abnormalities as Tay-Sachs disease. The advent of more recent techniques, such as sampling the cells of the villi of the chorion (a procedure that can be carried out in the first trimester), employing gene probes, and using ultrasonographic detection, has advanced the diagnosis of genetic disorders faster than most researchers would have thought possible.

Nightingale and Goodman carefully explain the practicalities of this potentially confusing array of prenatal tests: how they are performed, what they reveal, and what their limitations are. The book concludes with a thoughtful consideration of the economic, ethical, and legal issues related to prenatal screening. Although primarily intended to assist prospective parents, this volume is also of interest to health care providers, public health officials, and policymakers who struggle with these difficult decisions.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Photo of Lucia Jacobs as a child sitting next to Oaky

How to Plant a Forest

For this week’s University Press Week Blog Tour, Lucia Jacobs offers us a glimpse of environmental stewardship as seen through the activities of the ubiquitous squirrel, a species native to the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia from the Eocene Epoch onward. Lucia Jacobs is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.