A sharp-eyed exploration of the promise and peril of having children in an age of genetic tests and interventionsIs DNA testing a triumph of modern medicine or a Pandora's box of possibilities? Is screening for disease in an embryo a humane form of family planning or a slippery slope toward eugenics? And, more practically, how do we navigate the dizzying and expanding array of tests available, with more appearing every day?In The Gene Machine, the award-winning journalist Bonnie Rochman addresses these questions and more, guiding us through the new frontiers of gene technology and how it has forever changed medicine, bioethics, and the factors that shape a family. Rochman takes an authoritative look at the latest hot-button issues in the world of pre- and postnatal testing and tells the stories of women and men struggling to understand the variety of tests and grappling with their results--revelations that are sometimes joyous, sometimes heartbreaking, and often profound. Propelled by human narratives and meticulously reported, The Gene Machine introduces us to scientists working to unlock the secrets of the human genome; gene counselors and spiritual advisers helping parents manage this complex new reality; and, of course, parents themselves, including the author, who glimpse the genetic futures of their children. The Gene Machine is both a scientific road map and a meditation on our power to shape the future, one that gets to the very core of what it means to be human.
"An exciting, informative, and lucidly written book about genes and the future." --Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Gene and The Emperor of All Maladies "Knowledge is power, and it's especially empowering when you're pregnant. But with genetic technology, mining an overwhelming amount of information from the moment of conception (and before!) on, how do parents sort through what they need to know, what might be nice to know, and what they might be better off not knowing about the baby they've created or will create? What screens and tests should they opt for--and what is this about sequencing? The Gene Machine provides parents with a clear-eyed explanation of the promise and pitfalls of ever-evolving genetic technologies so that they can make clear-eyed decisions about the unprecedented choices they'll be facing on their baby-making journey." --Heidi Murkoff, bestselling author of the What to Expect When You're Expecting series"Calm, thorough, and nonsensationalist . . . Rochman's thoughtful take highlights important issues for parenting in an increasingly high-information world." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Knowledge can be power, but as Rochman rightly points out, sometimes the ability to know doesn't mean one should know. Solid research into dilemmas regarding screening and how it is used for fetuses and newborns." --Kirkus Reviews"The author delves into an intriguing and intimate topic with sensitivity and compassion . . . For anyone who has or will have children as well as those with an interest in genetics and popular science." --Tina Chan, Library Journal"Bonnie Rochman's The Gene Machine is as profoundly important and timely as it is readable and relatable. Through deeply human stories, Rochman unpacks the complicated science of genetics and how it has changed the ways we build and understand our families in the modern world. In short, this is genetics with a human face." --Emily Rapp Black, New York Times bestselling author of The Still Point of the Turning World "Bonnie Rochman has taken a subject that every parent worries about but few understand, and made it accessible, urgent, and humane. The Gene Machine is like a guidebook to the future. It will be invaluable for many families." --Bruce Feiler, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families "Bonnie Rochman dives into the turbulent waters of genetic testing and emerges with The Gene Machine, a smart and compassionate account of this ever-advancing science. Her curiosity and compelling narrative will challenge you to consider all the 'what-ifs' of the future of gene sequencing. Go on this journey with her. Take the plunge. You'll come away enthralled and informed." --Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D., M.P.H., author of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank "How much do you really want to know about the future health of your children or yourself? In The Gene Machine, Bonnie Rochman provides us with a beautifully written, thoughtful examination of this complex issue. It is a must-read for anyone grappling with the brave new world of genetic possibilities." --Richard Berkowitz, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Columbia University; former Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine"The Gene Machine is a great read. Bonnie Rochman negotiates the pros and cons of genetic technologies and humanizes scientific endeavors by venturing into the hearts and homes of families facing tough choices caused by the hardship of inherited disease." --Dr. James Grifo, director of the New York University Langone Fertility Center
Bonnie Rochman is an award-winning journalist. A former health and medicine columnist for Time magazine, she has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, Scientific American, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three children.