DUNEDIN, New Zealand –
What if you could tell how smart your baby would be while still in the womb? Doctors in New Zealand have begun administering prenatal tests that not only screen for chromosomal disorders like Downs Syndrome, but they can give expecting parents an idea how intelligent their baby is likely to be.
Louis Barnett, lead scientist behind the new test stresses the test is important so parents are aware their child has the predilection to be stupid as early as possible. “There’s always hope. It’s important to understand there are many factors that contribute to a person’s intellectual potential, and genes are only one. A person’s intelligence is affected by nurture, in the womb and throughout childhood. Even if the genetics aren’t the best, the right environment can maximize a child’s potential.
Our goal is ultimately to advance the technology so parents can tell as early as two months.”
When asked whether they were concerned this type of testing would lead to more parents selecting to abort less than perfect embryos, Barnett replied that he is pro-choice. “If a woman decides to abort the dummy before it’s too late, that should be her choice. Ethically, doctors would not sway patients one way or the other.”
Teams of pro-choice advocates in the US hope this technology will be helpful in developing tests to detect Republicans in the womb.