La selección de nuestros hijos

MELBOURNE – En abril, el parlamento de Alemania le puso límites al uso de la diagnosis genética. ¿La nueva ley alemana es un modelo a seguir por otros países mientras nos debatimos sobre las cuestiones éticas planteadas por nuestro conocimiento cada vez mayor de la genética humana?

Algunas estipulaciones de la ley alemana se basan en los principios éticos ampliamente compartidos del respeto por la autonomía y la privacidad individual. A nadie se lo puede someter a pruebas sin su consentimiento. Ni los empleadores, ni las compañías de seguros, pueden exigir un análisis genético. A los individuos se les asigna tanto el derecho a saber -a estar informado de los resultados de cualquier prueba genética sobre su persona- como el derecho a elegir vivir en la ignorancia de lo que pueda predecir una prueba genética sobre su futuro. Discriminar a alguien o estigmatizarlo por sus características genéticas está prohibido.

Por más deseables que parezcan estas estipulaciones, podrían imponerle un costo elevado a las empresas alemanas. Si a las compañías de seguros fuera de Alemania se les permite exigir pruebas genéticas mientras que a las empresas alemanas se les prohíbe hacerlo, entonces las personas que sepan que tienen diagnosis genéticas que deparan una vida más corta contratarán sus seguros de vida en compañías de seguros alemanas. Estas compañías luego descubrirán que están realizando más pagos por muertes prematuras que sus competidores. Para cubrir los mayores costos, tendrán que elevar las primas, y así dejarían de ser competitivas.

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