Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing
Mid-Manhattan Library (455 Fifth Ave., Manhattan)
This illustrated talk draws on in-depth interviews with individuals confronting Huntington’s Disease, breast and ovarian cancer, and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency to explore a range of issues that arise. These individuals face a series of moral and psychological quandaries — whether to be tested; whether to disclose their genetic risks to parents, siblings, spouses, offspring, friends, doctors, insurers, employers, and schools; how to view and understand themselves and their genetics; what treatments, if any, to pursue; whether to have children, adopt, screen embryos, or abort; and whether to participate in genetic communities. In the face of these uncertainties, they struggle to understand these tests and probabilities, avoid fatalism, anxiety, despair, and discrimination, and find hope, meaning, and a sense of wholeness.