Our View – Disabled parents want disabled babies

Many parents hope their children grow up and become their own little “Mini-Me’s.” Perhaps you want your daughter to have your piercing blue eyes or your dark curly hair. Narcissistic? Maybe, but nonetheless possible.

In the age of test tube babies and petri dish twins, choosing the sex of your baby is as easy as a click of a button. But what about genetic defects? What would you do if you found out your child had cystic fibrosis or had Huntington’s disease? Would you essentially “kill” the defective embryo and implant only the healthy one? Surprisingly, some women are doing just the opposite.

According to a Dec. 5 article in the New York Times, parents are now intentionally choosing defective genes to produce disabled babies. The new procedure, known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PG.D., is “a process in which embryos are created in a test tube, and their DNA is analyzed before being transferred to a woman’s uterus.” That way, embryos with defects could be excluded and only healthy embryos would be implanted. Except of course, in the cases, the opposite is occurring. Why, you ask? Because the parents themselves are afflicted with a disorder.

This is hardly a new trend. Back in 2002, The Washington Post magazine featured Candace A. McCullough and Sharon M. Duchesneau, a lesbian and deaf couple from Maryland. They set out to have a deaf child by soliciting a deaf sperm donor. “A hearing baby would be a blessing,” Duchesneau said, “A deaf baby would be a special blessing.” Their son was born five years ago and was mostly deaf. On top of that, his parents chose to withhold hearing aids to make him just like them.

Obviously, this fad has everyone, but particularly those in the medical field, enraged. According to the article, Dr. Robert J. Stillman of the Shady Grove Fertility Center in Rockville said, “In general, one of the prime dictates of parenting is to make a better world for our children. Dwarfism and deafness are not the norm.”

Many parents, apparently, feel differently. Mary Ellen Little, for instance, of New Jersey is a nurse with dwarfism. She had her first daughter before a prenatal test for achondroplasia existed. For her second child, she had an amniocentesis. “I prayed for a little one. “

One can easily understand where Little is coming from. But does that mean she should be able to play God? It is incredibly selfish for these women to inflict these kinds of psychologically damaging, not to mention physically paralyzing conditions onto their offspring. It is morally reprehensible to take over your child’s life and make these kinds of decisions before they’ve had their first breath of air. What kind of a parent doesn’t want the best for their children?

All of this new technology- which has the ability to choose your child’s sex, appearance, and physical state of well being-seems like we are somehow intruding with the natural progression of evolution. Are human beings really supposed to be upgrading our offspring, like our baby’s a new car we want to pimp out?

We can only hope that disabled parents realize that their child could have a better life, all they have to do is let them.

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