Jan 24, 2020 in Exploratory

Human Growth and Development

  1. How might adopted children develop traits similar to those of their adoptive parents? What sort of traits do you think might be shared or be different from adoptive families?

Biology teaches us that we are an expression of our parents and our eye color, our personality our height and other traits are defined by our parents’ genes. Due to this, it is easy to assume that an adopted child will express all of the traits that are defined by his/her biological parents.

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However, according to Andy V. Pham and John S. Carlson, genetics alone are not responsible for the traits of a person. The environment of one’s upbringing also plays a role in the expressed traits. For example, a child may have a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia, but if the environment of his/her upbringing does not nurture it, the chances of this gene’s expression are quite slim.

From the above, we can conclude that an adopted child will probably inherit some of the physical traits from his/her biological parents. Other things like personality, some illnesses or even mannerisms will depend on the environment of child’s upbringing and the influence that his/her adoptive parents have. Therefore, even though a child is adopted, he/she can develop some of the adoptive parents’ behavioral traits, just by being in the same environment.

  1. What are some of the ethical issues and philosophical questions that surround the issue of genetic counseling? Might it be sometimes unwise to know ahead of time about the possible genetic disorders that could afflict the child or yourself?

Genetic counseling is a field of medicine that helps parents to understand the medical, psychological, and familial effects of genetic contributions to diseases. In genetic counseling, aims at informing parents of any diseases the child may have, and explaining to parents what it means and what they could do about the situation.

Abortion is one of the ethical issues surrounding the problem of genetic counseling. Though genetic counseling is not fully accurate, from the data gathered, a genetic counselor can present a family with an idea of what they will face, based on the disease the child has, if a disease will be found. Once parents are aware of the conditions their child will face because of a specific disease, and the emotional and financial strain it will put them through, they are faced with the decision of choosing to abort or not.

Another issue that raises ethical concern in genetic counseling is preimplantation genetic diagnosis. In this procedure, a mother’s egg is fertilized in vitro by the father’s sperm. Tests are done in order to see if there are any abnormal chromosomes. If none are found, the “healthy” fertilized egg is then planted into the mother’s uterus. This procedure causes concern because parents can now start choosing characteristics they want for their child. For example, though an egg might not show any sign of disease, traits like height or eye color might be not of parents’ preference, and thus they may discard that egg and look for another option, as if to choose their perfect child. 

In some cases, it is unwise to know because a child faces discrimination based on his/her disabilities. However, if a family knows ahead of time, they can weigh their options and see if they can afford it. Some diseases require a lot of medical attention and a family that does not have a enough financial resources may not be able to cater for all of the medical attention that a child with a certain disease may need.

  1. Which of the prenatal stages of development is the most critical? Explain your answer.

The prenatal period has three stages of development: germinal, embryonic and fetal. The germinal stage lasts for two weeks; it involves the formation of a blastocyte and implantation to the uterus. The second stage is the embryonic stage; this stage lasts from third week to eighth week and involves formation of organs. The final stage is the fetal stage involves growing of a fetus and maturing of the organs, but also development of the nervous system.

All of these stages are important, but the one that is probably the most critical is the embryonic stage. This stage proves to be critical because it is during this stage that the organs of the body start to develop. If a mother is to take this stage lightly and not regard what she puts into her body, she could risk the developmental health of her baby. 

In addition, Sigelman and Rider, refer to this stage as a critical period because during this time the developing organs are sensitive to all of the environmental influences, both positive and negative. Therefore, even though all of the stages of development are important, the stage that mothers have to be most careful about is the second one as any irresponsible action could affect development.

  1. Are there steps fathers might take to help their unborn child develop normally in the womb? What are they and how might they affect the environment of the unborn child? What are some steps both parents can take to give the infant a healthy pre-natal environment?

Because the mother carries the child, one could think that fathers can do nothing to help the child develop normally in the womb. However, Sigelman and Rider, explain that fathers who drink and smoke usually have partners who do the same. This suggests that harmful habits found in one parent are most likely to be visible in the other as well. Therefore, the child’s wellness is a responsibility of both father and mother.

Moreover, if a father smokes and drinks, the mother most likely does the same. In order for father to make sure that the child develops healthily, he should, in addition to not smoking, give up drinking as well. By doing this, the mother of a child will also most likely stop drinking. This will reduce the risk of a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. 

In addition, the father could help to reduce any external stresses that could cause harm to the mother, which could cause harm to the child, and he can make sure that the mother is in a conducive environment, safe from harmful exposures to radiation or unsafe pollutants, as these tend to cause genetic mutations. 

Thirdly, both parents could take time to educate themselves on pregnancy so they are aware of what is safe for the baby and what is not.

  1. In the article “Healthier women, healthier reproductive outcomes…” the writer explains that a healthy lifestyle not only results in a healthy infant, but reduces complaints and problems that mothers usually face during pregnancy.

Addressing the problems that are common in pregnancy before conceiving the child results in better results upon pregnancy. In the article, the writer suggests that every woman should go for preconception health services. The preconception health services will help women address topics like weight management, diet supplements and other general issues of concern during pregnancy. At the preconception health services, professionals perform screening of every woman. Each woman undergoes a risk assessment in order to determine which areas of their lifestyle can be of potential threat to the fetus upon pregnancy. If the risk assessment tests positive in a certain area, doctors give a recommendation to a woman regarding what should she do. For example if the woman is overweight, she is recommended to lose weight if she is to have a safe pregnancy, or if she is a smoker, she is advised to quit for the sake of the infant’s health or even life. The writer explains that by optimizing mother’s health before and between pregnancies, it increases the wellness of those women who will become pregnant and thus results in healthier infants.

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