Medicine: Gene Screen

Early fetal checkup

For Donna and Steven Roehl and Debbie and Maury Fisher, having a baby is a risky business. The Roehls both carry the gene for Niemann-Pick disease, a metabolic disorder that has already taken the life of their first child. The Fishers are carriers of Tay-Sachs disease, a fatal ailment that afflicts their two-year-old son. For both couples, the odds are one in four that any child they bear will be defective. When the two wives became pregnant earlier this year, they intended to undergo amniocentesis, a test to determine if the...

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