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Fetal Diagn Ther. 1993 Apr;8 Suppl 1:175-88.

Prenatal genetic testing and geneticization: mother matters for all.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Prenatal genetic testing represents the most widespread human application of reproductive technology, and its use is necessarily gendered. Moreover, its application both reflects and generates the process of 'geneticization' that increasingly orients contemporary western-world stories of health and disease. Taking a woman-centered approach, this paper examines some of the stories being told about testing; questions their themes of 'reassurance' and 'choice', their construction of 'risk', and their assumptions about disability; and explores the 'life-style' testing creates for (pregnant) women. Testing itself, and its power to control how we live and the children we bear, raises complex and troubling matters that require continued and fresh examination.

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