Genetic Discrimination: Perspectives of Consumers

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5287, pp. 621-624
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5287.621


In a study of the perceptions of 332 members of genetic support groups with one or more of 101 different genetic disorders in the family, it was found that as a result of a genetic disorder 25 percent of the respondents or affected family members believed they were refused life insurance, 22 percent believed they were refused health insurance, and 13 percent believed they were denied or let go from a job. Fear of genetic discrimination resulted in 9 percent of respondents or family members refusing to be tested for genetic conditions, 18 percent not revealing genetic information to insurers, and 17 percent not revealing information to employers. The level of perceived discrimination points to the need for more information to determine the extent and scope of the problem.