Disability and Disease
Every pregnant woman has a routine amniocentesis at 16 weeks. Due to scientific advances, there are no risks with this procedure. This test allows doctors to detect problems in a child's genetic code and repair it in the womb. The human genome has been completely mapped due to this advance in technology.
An amniocentesis cannot detect structural defects, such as cleft lip or heart defects. These are mostly picked up on the second trimester ultrasound that is routinely done.
Sadly, not everything can be fixed. If the problem will guarantee a short life span or inhibit the child from becoming an adult (making them an undesirable spouse) the doctors will abort the pregnancy by the 24th week. They do not consult the parents on this decision, and the mother simply believes she had a miscarriage. This pregnancy does not count against her. If these defects are found after the 24th week, then the pregnancy is allowed to continue, and the child will be listed as a stillbirth, but this is rare.
Advanced medical technology allows for testing developing systems in the fetus, firing signals and testing response time. This can be used to detect blindness or other non-obvious impairments.
Basically, science is so advanced that although your child is yours, it's polished and perfected until only the good remains. Years of doing this has left only the good genes to be passed on, and the need to repair genetic code becomes less and less. Most diseases are eradicated, and the genes that cause them are almost extinct.
Accidents happen. An industrial accident can cause someone to lose a limb, a car accident can cause paralysis, etc. It is important to note that in cases where someone is blind, deaf, etc, it happened after birth. Technology is developing artificial repairs, but it's taking time. Some experiments have shown real promise, but the results over five or ten years have always been discouraging.
OOC: We've had disabled characters before, but they simply don't tend to do well in the setting. Perhaps people are shallow, and therefore they come off shallow or unfair, but if you make someone different, it's always a possibility.
Are disabilities allowed? Certainly. The government would do whatever they could to help the person stay in step with society. This might require the family to move so that affected person can get extra help with their disability. Tidewater has no such facilities.
Also, it's worth mentioning that men would get far more concessions than a woman would. If a woman were to be disabled in such a way that would hinder her ability to do her wifely duties (for example, paralysis) then she would be made undraftable and find something for her to do.
If the disability makes it impossible for the character to function as expected, we might ask you to change it. Take consideration for your future partner as well. Going the premarriage route should be seriously considered so everyone is on the same page.
The vast array of mental disorders is still not completely understood. Scientists have found that some disorders are influenced by social factors rather than genetic ones. There are genes that alone are not an identifier for a disorder, but couple the gene with certain other factors, and the disorder develops. Most doctors subscribe to a biopsychosocial model of causation. That is to say, the causes of the disorders are likely due to biological, genetic, social and psychological factors. This means that no single factor is responsible, rather it is a complex and intertwined nature of all factors that are important.
We cannot prevent the development of such disorders, we can control the symptoms with proper medication, therapy and sometimes temporary institutionalization. In a vast majority of cases, the patient is able to lead a relatively normal life with minimal episodes, providing they adhere to the doctor's orders.
There will always be cases where nothing helps. In those sad cases, the patient can become permanently institutionalized. This will effectively widow the spouse.
Most disorders are fine for a character to have, as long as you've done your research. Bear in mind that medication and therapy is going to be a part of their life.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder
This list is not complete or set in stone as the only disorders your character can have. This is what we've typically seen. If you have questions, ask. We will ask you to be as realistic as possible, and if we find it not to be, then changes might be in order.
Here is a list of things that still plague us, despite the advanced technology.
An allergy is something which triggers an allergic reaction. This is the immune system defending the body against attack by bacteria and viruses. Sometimes the systems goes wrong, and is triggered by some quite normal food, or flares up when the family pet comes into the room.
Acne is an infection of the skin, caused by changes in the sebaceous glands. However, medicine has been able to pinpoint the exact causes of our imperfect skin. We cannot prevent acne, but a trip to the dermatologist can give you the medicine to control it.
No cure or vaccine for HIV was ever found. However, when the borders were closed, they rounded up all the HIV positive folks and simply hid them away until they all died off. It does not exist in the US.
STDs are virtually nonexistent since everyone is tested regularly (especially sponsors) and the fact that you're only supposed to be sleeping with your spouse.
Diabetes is the condition that results from lack of insulin in a person's blood, or their body has a problem using the insulin it produces (Insulin resistance). This disease is easily controlled with insulin and other medication.
Other Diseases/Viruses/Disorders Still Around
not a complete list
Congestive Heart Disease