Chimera

Small white flower bloom

I read the chromosomal analysis.

Partial trisomy of sex chromosome… mosaicism…

Well. What was that going to mean? I needed an answer before I called this baby’s mom. She had been waiting anxiously throughout her pregnancy after the initial testing had showed a probable genetic anomaly. Mosaics are tricky. Some cells are normal. Some are not. The end result can vary. I searched everywhere at my disposal professionally. 

Nothing. 

So then I turned to Google. 

“Likely no developmental delays. No fertility issues. Phenotypically normal appearance.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. I was still sending them to genetics but I wanted to be able to reassure the family if I could. It had been a very emotional pregnancy.

And since then I have been thinking about this more and more.

Now that OB/Gyns are offering, and sometimes pushing, these more advanced genetic tests during pregnancy I wonder what it is going to mean for the babies as they grow up. We would have never known there was an issue genetically for this child 10 years ago. We just would not care. They would have grown up as a “normal” child. Now this kiddo will have “sex chromosome anomaly” hanging around their neck for the rest of their life. 

Is more information really better? Just because we can do something… should we?

Maybe not.

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113 thoughts on “Chimera

  1. I had my babies 26 and 28 years ago. I had no sonograms. They were just not routine at the time. They offered some tests that were optional to determine things like spina bifida I think – but I declined. I do worry what our world will come to – it may become somewhat selectionist …. hmmm….

    Liked by 4 people

    • In certain circumstances where there is something noted on the ultrasound or prior issues with another pregnancy, these tests could really help but for no one with any known issues? I just am not sure it is that helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes, I think too much knowledge is just that…too much. And just because we can, no we shouldn’t …not always. Ethics are being challenged by so many new discoveries… yet the real ethics should come from the heart, not the science lab. I think that is what makes the difference between the doctor who is a scientist and the one who is first and foremost healer. I know which one I’d rather be treated by.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It is a BRAVE NEW WORLD out there and one we will not likely adjust to it in our lifetime.
    Ironically, the Visual Thesaurus defined the word chimera as Just Monstrous Word of the Day.
    What do you get when you cross a lion, a goat, and a serpent? Something like a chimera, a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. You can also use chimera for any bizarre product of the imagination, and (in biology) a creature with genetically unrelated parts. Is it possible for such a child to live if it is born? In human genetics, what is the likely outcome?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We need to ask ourselves, how much information is too much? What is necessary for us to know? Will our knowing change our course of action or our feelings toward the subject? With every scientific advance we will learn new things and uncover new information. Will we ever know “too much”?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It appears it will need delicate handling later when this child is considering becoming a parent. If there is no obvious external problem, he or she should be told only when the time is right. Children have a difficult enough time”fitting in” as it is, even if they’re perfectly normal in every way and there does seem to be an increase in the bully culture in recent years – no point in handicapping the child from the beginning.
    I am interested in the biology/science here – is there a reputable source?
    If anyone can reassure the parents, I feel sure it is you; your compassion shines through what you write.

    Liked by 2 people

    • True. In certain circumstances it is completely appropriate. For everyone across the board though? That I wonder. We will find things we don’t necessarily want to know and then what do you do with that information?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. A key question here is “just because we can do something, should we?” To me, “No” is the clear answer although some military hawks and commercial types would answer differently. Biological weapons (Kim Jung-Nam?) come to mind. And, I’m remembering, from the ’80s I think, a commercial proposal to orbit huge satellites for advertising—picture the Golden Arches drifting by overhead with the light glinting off of them just after sun set. Wouldn’t that be beautiful?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hey Victo,

    Another top ponder to ponder this evening Victo, thank you.

    This an inspired adventure for thought to linger longer. Huge reach and unfathomable depth of perspective with every line. I know little of genetics so asked myself if I thought Chimeras anomalies in a pattern.

    Also may I ask a couple of questions? Chimeras in Nature: what purpose do they serve to the evolution of a species, what impact might such an anomaly have long-term? Does Nature readily accept anomalies within her Web of Life or reject their patterning by default?

    I also wondered whilst reading if Humankind would evolve to accept difference between people? Do we readily accept it now? Would Chimeras or anomalies change human nature as a genetic upgrade?

    Another photograph to get lost in heavy contrasts deep greens blush whites and magnolia skies. I got lost, thank you.

    Namaste πŸ™‚

    DN – 02/03/207

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think X-men. But this is not a comic book, technically. One of the concerns with this sort of thing in the US has been it’s potential impact on life insurance and medical insurance. Could someone refuse to cover you because of your genes? Would that be fair?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hey Victo,

        I’ve a fascination in all ideas emanating from the human mind. Each idea is a reflection of something far deeper. We are infinite in our creative abilities.

        Of course I understand your concerns. I read your blog for its content and appreciate who you are and what you write. Your perspective is drawn from the very heart of the community. A Physician is key to that heart. Your writing reflects that in many truthful ways. Thank you for always sharing that side of you.

        May I leave the following? I found it online someplace.

        ~ Life Poker ~

        A game of trumps.
        And insurers.
        Played by life’s losers who prosper.
        Or so I am told.
        The people also gamble.
        But not with lives.
        Why would you?
        Why steal evermore in a money-game already being paid for in blood.
        And dollars.
        Ours.

        Nevermore!
        Said the Raven.

        ~

        Namaste πŸ™‚

        DN – 02/03/2017

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well, you said in your post that the effects are basically nothing. So I would do… nothing. What’s the point of making an issue out of something that never amounts to anything? On the other hand, if there were some bad effects, I’d rather go into a situation fully aware and armed with all possible information. Knowledge is power.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t think that’s always true. My older daughter had an allergic reaction to pine nuts and I mistakenly had her tested for all kind of food. She was positive for many things she had eaten her whole with no problem and totally freaked out. It’s taken years for her to relax about it, and the doctor telling her she didn’t need to worry about having a slight allergic tendency to something didn’t help a bit. I would never do that to any child again.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oops missed the last part of your question. If I were the child I presume I’d feel the same way about it. If it’s harmless then it doesn’t mean anything, and if it affects other things such as my own eventual reproduction (as the child) I would definitely want to know.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It is genetically a non issue. The social implications are the biggest concern. It is in that child’s medical record now and will follow them around forever. You and I would be cool with the knowledge but the rest of the world is not so forgiving.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm perhaps you have a point. I guess health insurance issues would be the biggest concern. Shame if anyone else (can’t imagine who?) would use it against a person… well shame if health insurers use it against you as well obviously.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! Now for some, if there were an anomaly found and they would wish to terminate the pregnancy then it makes sense but I find no one is really thinking through these questions with patients on the front end.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ill pipe in only because science needs boundaries in the sense that a wild wind is heeded so why not a wild heart who fears the wild doctor who thinks but hides in defense of the wild mind. Science is part imagination. Look how we react. With a wild fear that should be heard. Both my husband and son are scientists and they have a conscious. Neither one would have a genetic test, it could be used against you. Both caution from moving too far from humanity’s roots, in the sense of being dust and water and wind. Life is breathed into us and every breath sacred.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would not do genetic testing either personally. There is no guarantee of the security and as you point out, it can be used against us. This makes another excellent point in that who has control over the baby’s genetic code and who will have access to that later?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, if nothing else, there should be a legal disclosure. Unless it already exists. Anyhow, great food for thought. Like everything in life one should proceed with caution.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. People want to know everything NOW because they can. Sigh. If there’s a problem, I say do all you can but if there’s nothing you can do in vitro, too much info may stress the mother more.
    I don’t believe in knowing except that the baby is growing normally. In my day, there was no ultrasounds on offer or anything. ❀ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That’s the question that begs to be answered with no real conclusion. How much is too much? How far or deep are we willing to go? To what end? At the end of the day will it change anything? Is this all about the research and discovery? Is it about recognition? Are we saving lives or identifying them?
    Seems there are more questions than answers, Doc. But you would know better than me.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Really interesting questions- you’re a great doctor to be asking these things. I’m not sure it really aids life hugely to know about every genetic marker – maybe the info should be weighed up against impact and consequence of revealing it or not. On the otherhand however, perhaps it is part of our evolution to be more informed about our workings, and just as dr google reassured you, the general public can be informed and reassured with a couple of key word searches. BUT…from my interweb medical degree, I know for every reassuring thread, there are others that will tell you you’ll die a horrible death in days…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. You continue to thow out posts that pique my imagination. I’ll resist the call of the Muse and say this is a terrible predicament. This child hasn’t taken its first breath and is already dealing with labeling. Imagine some states telling the adult version which restroom he or she has to use, based on an old test somewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I find it creepy that people get such extensive testing. Even adults, it’s like looking for trouble. Guess what? None of us are perfect! That should be OK. I had no testing for my older one, and ambivalently had amnio for the second one. And I didn’t want to know the sex, either. I’m not sure I would have terminated…I guess you never know what you would do. But possibilities, also, are just that…there’s no guarantee either way. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Interesting post, and even more interesting commentary. So many views. I was offered, suggested to have a lot of testing done with my last, since I turned 30 before she was born. I didn’t do any of it. To each her own.
    I loved genetics, always found it fascinating, really wished I’d had the math ability to pursue it further, but the ethics are tangly. Another case for individual choice.

    I wonder when you should even tell a kid their chromosomes are ‘different?’ Do we know if it matters? Have we drawn a line now? I’m betting not.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I think I’m watching too much TV, because what I thought of when I read that was, Oh! Kendall Malone was a chimera and the genetic template from which the cloning projects are derived in “Orphan Black”! Um, I don’t think I’d mention that to the parents. I know you were wondering if you should.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. These test do help, I guess for some. But in our case when asked if we’d like to have further tests (as older parents), we declined. I mean, to what point? We’d like the baby(or babies) no matter how they come out to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with your maybe not. My daughter was born tongue tied and the doctor snipped it at birth and withheld it from me unable he knew that she had begun speaking at the right age and without any problems in her speech. When he told me then, I asked why he hadn’t at birth and he said because I knew you would have worried over every word she may have stuttered and stammered over whilst trying to learn how to say them correctly.
    Wise decision on his part and I’m thankful that he made that call. Love, N πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 2 people

      • Oh that’s so sad that they can’t do that anymore. He was a family friend who really didn’t want to deliver babies any more but my aunt twisted his arm because I was 29 and she was worried that I would need an experienced doc. And I’m so grateful he withheld that info because we all have worried had we known. As it was she started talking quite early on and had few if any hiccups as it were! 😊❀️

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Testing is probably good so long as it works. If you know you’re baby’s going to have problems, you’ll have time to formulate a game plan. But sometimes the tests are wrong. I was told my youngest was going to have Down’s Syndrome based on that test they do, based on my age, and based on family history. I spent the last few months of my pregnancy worrying and researching. I even went so far as to check out local programs and schools for seriously disabled children. After her birth, the pediatrician came in and announced I had a perfect little girl. I was stunned. I asked him if she showed signs of Down’s Syndrome and told him about the test results. He just chuckled and said that test is wrong more often than not. Of course, I would have loved her regardless, but it was such a relief to know I had a perfectly normal baby.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Hey Victo,

    ~ 2nd Hand ~ By ~ DN ~

    Do Jokers count?
    And Kings trump Trumps?
    And Aces fly higher than Kings.
    What of Eagles?
    Golden Eagles?
    American Eagles?
    Do they trump?
    Or get free insurance?
    As novelties?
    Anomalies?
    Malaises?
    Is that fair?
    ~
    Namaste

    DN – 03/02/2017

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I had to Google mosaicism. See that? Reading you blog makes you smarter.

    Too much info. What is gluten? Now, everyone in the suburbs is allergic to gluten. They didn’t have gluten when I was a kid. I’d never heard the word until just a few years ago. Too much info.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. My husband and I have talked about this on several occasions when he’s come home troubled by a test outcome. He lets the parents decide what to do and gives them options. In this case, the only trouble I would foresee would be when this child grows up and has children of their own. But perhaps by then, there will be a fix.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I think you’re right, but on a case by case basis unfortunately. Some things are good to know in advance, so that one can get ahead of them, especially if they will be life threatening, like finding out you have the gene responsible for a form of breast cancer. But in this case, where there is no real detriment, not know might be better. Just because we ‘can’ clone a sheep, doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes it’s better to leave pandora’s box closed.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. NOT! but, what?!

    knowledge brings power …
    knowledge brings pain …
    we live our lives between …
    the darkness and the light …
    the search to find what lies within
    the black of darkest night
    while blinded by
    the light of brightest day …

    through life’s travails … we find our way …
    ’till mornings come
    and brand new days begin …

    Take care and jeeze … thanks … you honor me …. ks

    Liked by 2 people

  24. With perhaps the exception of the medical field, I sometimes I wish we didn’t have the ability to know so much. When I was pregnant with my third child I had a sonogram that indicated there could be a problem with the baby so the doc recommended amniocentesis to which I declined. I was told the test would allow me to make an informed decision. My thing was if I already made the decision to have the baby no matter what the results wouldn’t matter anyway. Fortunately, everything turned out okay and my son is now 27 years old.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. You know, Victo, the bonus with your blog posts is that in addition to your thought-provoking topics, there is always a rich following of comments to read and add to the pondering. A few fine lines have been mentioned…..ethics and labelling. It has been my observation and experience that labelling more often creates problems than solutions, especially with how the greater majority of people tend to think.
    Regarding ethics, generally, I’m all for exploring new frontiers, but that should also be tempered at times with the idea that was pointed out – just because we can, should we? – then I side with the “no.” It’s important in those instances to really think things through. Extra information isn’t always necessary and sometimes it’s erroneous, though well-intended.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I really do get great discussion here. And thank you for weighing in yourself. I am in favor of advancing science and medicine, too. Medicine in the US, however, seems to be more money driven then ethics driven at times and this is one of those situations where a test is available, it makes lots of money, it gets pushed without a good discussion of the pros and cons, and now an innocent is caught in the middle. I am not sure that true informed consent is being obtained and I hope that will change. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: Writing Links 3/6/17 – Where Genres Collide

  27. I saw a program on Discovery Health when I was pregnant about chimera and it was so disturbing. The woman was on social services and they tried to say that the baby wasn’t hers because when they order DNA tests all parents have to take one and they said she defrauded the system. Even though she had pictures of her pregnancy and doctor’s appointments it was weird. Her 3rd pregnancy social services was in the delivery room and the DNA showed again that it wasn’t her baby. The doctors started sending off the information and discovered chimera. Interesting and weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Hang on around his neck? Depends on the parents right? How well they do their job.
    πŸ™‚
    (Which is? Make sure all the doors are open for the kid’s talent to grow)
    πŸ˜‰
    (I’m already starting to teach grandbaby the piano. One never knows. Even at 10 months)
    πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I appreciate your question. Is having information always better? And if we decide ahead of time what the limits of a person are, how will we ever know if it was our expectations that held this person back? I think it is important to decide ahead of time what we will do with the information before we gather it. More is better sometimes, not always.

    Liked by 1 person

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