Testing of life expectancy in human beings is a controversial area characterized by various debates with no conclusive answers. Scientists in different fields have come up with various formulas trying to predict the length of human life. None however comes close to what some UK scientists are about to roll out.
The test involves a blood test whose cells’ DNA will be analyzed to determine the length of telomeres. While further research and tests are needed to prove of the efficiency of the test, the level at which it is right now can apparently be able to tell people of their date of death.
The providers of the service are planning to roll it out in the market and the test will be available to whoever wants to take it. Its availability for consumption however is subject to permission from authorities.
Besides, there will be opinions from sectors like religion, general population and the science world. The expected lack of consensus among the above interested groups breeds the big question of whether the service should be offered or not.
Despite the demerits associated with the test, I am of the opinion that the test should be made available to those that would like to have it. It should also be made available for use in healthcare if patients of healthcare providers deem it necessary.
It is however important to note that the service should not be availed as part of the government’s healthcare programs. Government should only support it through private enterprise.
Why government should support the service
Opponents will front many disadvantages of the availability of the service and, they are many. Religion especially will argue against it and probably present an argument similar to that of cloning and stem cell research.
Public opinion is likely to be divided with a majority opposing while a good portion will be supporting it. Some liberal scientists will most likely embrace it while the conservative lot will flatly reject the idea. However, the government will have the final say.
While authorities may have their opinion, they will not voice it openly and will have to listen to the wishes of the majority whilst at the same time considering the implications it is likely to have to political trends, scientific research, and free market principles and by extension the economy.
Given that the western world encourages progressive research and thrives on it, it should act as one of the reasons for allowing the roll out. It takes a considerable length of time for scientists to come up with such discoveries.
Moreover, most of them use state resources in the course of their work. It will therefore be a waste of time and resources if the discoveries these scientists make are not put into good use. Denial of permission to offer the service will only serve to discourage development and innovation in the scientific world.
The economies of western countries including the UK are built of scientific development that have encouraged growth in different sectors like manufacturing, healthcare and sports. Free market principles allow any person with a commodity or service to sell to do so, so long as it meets legal standards and consumers are not coerced to take it.
That is exactly what these scientists are doing. Many other services of the same nature in the market have provided numerous employment opportunities while generating revenue for the government. This too can do the same.
The service should be offered to those that can afford and are willing to take it. However, there are many provisions that should be introduced to the laws governing such services. The regulation will be more or less, similar to that governing stem cell research.
The provisions should aim to ensure the providers offer sufficient counseling of their clients and should be prepared to meet any costs financially or otherwise of consequences that may come up a result of their activities.
The service should also be limited and its availability should only be given in cases where it can be proven that it is necessary. That way people will be discouraged from doing it for fun and providers will be limited to offering the service to only deserving cases.