Assignment: Fetal Development and Genetic Testing Essay

Assignment: Fetal Development and Genetic Testing Essay

Assignment  Fetal  Development and Genetic Testing Essay


During the fetal development period there is a rapid growth in size and mass coupled with progressive differentiation of the various organ systems. In clinical practice, the period is generally regarded as second trimester and third trimester. During antenatal care, majority of the measurements of growth are conducted through the use such tests as ultrasound and birth marks the end of fetal growth and development.  However, anomalies may occur during this stage of fetal development and various genetic screening methods are used to detect them. This paper will focus on the stages of fetal development and methods employed in genetic testing coupled with issues surrounding it.

Fetal Development Chart

1st Trimester 2nd Trimester 3rd Trimester
Week 2 Implantation of the fertilized ovum on the uterine wall
Week 3 to Week 8 The major organs, as well as anatomical structure, begin to form
Weeks 12 Sex organs start to differentiate
Week 16 The limbs and hands start to develop
13th to 28 weeks The fetus now has the distinct features of a human being, the nails harden and skin thickens. Additionally, the fetus visual and auditory sense start functioning and the fetus can now hear explaining the rationale behind some mothers communicating with their unborn kids


29-40weeks Major organ systems mature rapidly, the fetus starts preparation for birth and reaches the age of viability

At the last weeks of pregnancy, the fetus assumes a fetal position whereby it is positioned head down with the limbs being curled

Week 32 The body muscles become fully developed

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Prenatal genetic testing plays an essential role in determining if the fetus has any congenital abnormalities. This is different from the

Assignment Fetal Development and Genetic Testing Essay
Assignment Fetal Development and Genetic Testing Essay

normal pregnancy screening of the maternal blood and such imaging studies as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (Jelin, Sagaser, & Wilkins-Haug, 2019). However, they can be both employed to identify any abnormality in the growing fetus as part of antenatal care.

Genetic Tests Available to Parents

Parents can do such genetic tests as chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis as well as Percutaneous Umbilical Blood sampling as they are now available to them. The chorionic villus sampling serves the purpose of diagnosing some fetal malformations, which can help to provide decisions whether to terminate a pregnancy or offer some interventions despite it being an invasive procedure (Mackie et al., 2017). Amniocentesis makes it easier for the obstetrician to measure the level of the alpha-fetoprotein in the amniotic fluid to help identify if the fetus has any brain or spinal cord defect (Abou Tayoun et al., 2018). The percutaneous umbilical blood sampling was employed when rapid chromosome analysis was required but currently, it serves to detect anemia in the fetus.

Ethical Dilemmas

The umbilical blood sampling has major shortcomings such as leading to a miscarriage in 1% of the pregnancies. Amniocentesis carries the risk of causing soreness, injuries to the fetus through the use of needles, spotting of blood or the leaking of amniotic fluid through the vagina, which can lead to miscarriage in 1 out of 500 procedures (Taylor-Phillips et al., 2016). Additionally, it can lead to the mixing of maternal and fetal blood leading to the activation of the immune system to produce antibodies against the baby (Mackie et al., 2017).  The ethical implication of all the tests is the fact that parents might decide to terminate the pregnancy if the test results are not pleasing.

Influence of Religious Worldview

My religious affiliations will not allow me to carry out genetic testing. I am a Catholic and I believe that it is God who gives babies and there is a reason why a child will be born with a congenital anomaly.  On top of that, genetic testing procedures have the risk of causing miscarriage even though life is precious and nobody has a right to ending someone’s life. Therefore, from the standpoint of my religion, there is no point in doing genetic testing.


Fetal developmental stages are very important for the well being of the unborn baby due to the fact that any abnormality leads to negative outcomes both to the mother and the fetus. Various methods have been devised using genetics to detect the fetal malformations. However, the methods have issues that affect their usability and therefore clinicians should carry out a cost-benefit analysis before conducting any procedure. On top of that, the patient’s beliefs and religious affiliations should come into play.

There are two parts to this assignment. In the first part you will create a chart showing the stages of fetal development. Then, for the second part, you will answer questions about genetic testing and the ethical decisions involved.
Part 1: Create a chart explaining the stages of fetal development. Each developmental period should be identified and briefly explain the development taking place.
Part 2: Use the document “Genetic Testing” posted in the files section, answer the questions regarding genetic testing and the ethical decisions involved in genetic testing.
Use two to four scholarly resources to support your chart and short answer claims. Include an APA reference page for both parts of the assignment.