Dear Mr. or Madam President,
Have you ever pondered the thought of eliminating hereditary diseases completely? I've dreamed about the day when life threatening hereditary diseases could be wiped out with the simple push of a button. While this idea may seem unfeasible, modern science has led to the development of technology that allows for this idea to be carried out within the near future. Its simply up to you to decide whether or not this miraculous procedure enters the mainstream market.
Genetic selection, the process in which certain traits and genes become more prevalent in a species than other traits(due to selective breeding or choosing desirable traits), is on the rise and can potentially change the way that humans breed. Since the dawn of man, individuals have been plagued by diseases brought on by genetic disorders. Whether it be Tay-Sachs or Cystic Fibrosis, genetic disorders have caused pain and anguish for millions of individuals across the world. As depressing as these facts may sound, there is hope. Genetic selection possesses the potential to eradicate these malignant genes and ultimately end hereditary diseases. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) tests embryos for the presence of genetic sequences that are linked to various characteristics and conditions. PGD allows couples who are at risk of passing on serious genetic diseases to have children who are unaffected by it.
Statistics and definitions are easy to talk about. But this is more than just a matter of words and ideas. I want to ask you a question Mr. or Madam president. Have you ever felt so helpless, so useless, that you struggle to come to terms with who you are? When my grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I didn't fully comprehend the complexity or the seriousness of the situation. I thought " It's just a disease, whats the worse that can happen"? I didn't know that everything could go wrong so quickly. One day she was the cheery, loving person that my family knew and loved. The next day she couldn't even remember who we were. We would try remind her only to be met with the same blank expression day after day. Her mental health slowly degraded until she was a shell of her former self. You could see it in her eyes; she lost the will to live. I watched her go from this upbeat individual, to someone who couldn't bear to live any longer. The worse part of it wasn't seeing her lose herself. The worse part was that I couldn't do anything about it. Genetic selection isn't a panacea; but it is a step in the right direction. Alzheimer's and other hereditary diseases can be detected in embryos in the early stages of pregnancy and the defective genes can be eliminated. If more research is done in the field of genetic selection, individuals who are at risk of passing on defective genes might be able to afford the testing they need.
I'm only 17 years old and I still have a long way to go before I have children of my own. Despite this, I still understand the significance of the research that is being done in the field of genetic selection. While I have never witnessed the debilitating effects of hereditary diseases, I acknowledge that they are a prevalent issue that we must address immediately before more lives are claimed. According to geneticsandsociety.org, on average PGD and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) testing ranges from 12,000 - 13,000 dollars. For most Americans, this testing is far too expensive. I humbly ask you to dedicate a portion of the tax money the government receives to research dealing with genetic selection. If these programs receive more funding, they may improve on their current procedures and reduce the amount of money required to perform the testing. By reducing the price of testing to a fraction of the cost that it is currently at, individuals who are in dire need of PGD and IVF can get the treatment they seek.
And so it is up to you Mr. or Madam President to decide the fate of future individuals with hereditary diseases. By funding genetic selection research, you are not only investing in a scientific procedure but in the future. Hundreds of American babies are born with genetic disorders each year, a number that continues to rise. You have the power to change this statistic. All it takes is one decision, one action, to save hundreds of lives.
Sincerely, Corey Thomas Cheung