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Illegal to Implant an Embryo with a Genetic Abnormality?

While many parents pine for a child of a particular sex, with emerald eyes or mathematical abilities, others prefer offspring like themselves — those that are not the conventional idea of perfection.

According to a BBC article, a hearing impaired British couple are parents to one deaf child and would like another. Due to the mother's age, they will have to rely on in-vitro fertilization and would prefer a deaf embryo.

The story said:

The couple have become icons in a deaf movement which sees this impairment not as a disability but as the key to a rich culture which has its own language, history and traditions: a world deaf parents would naturally want to share with any offspring.

Moreover, they argue that to prefer a hearing embryo over a deaf one is tantamount to discrimination.

Only if passed,The Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill would prevent the family from having that choice. To read what the law says,


It said:

If they produced only deaf embryos, they would be allowed to implant one of these. However it would be highly unlikely that there would not be one without one of the deaf genes.

If they chose to have their embryos screened, they would be obliged to to pick the embryo without the abnormality over the others. The screening would not however be obligatory, and they could take their chances in the hope that a deaf one is chosen.

What is your opinion?

Join The Conversation
SugarKim4203 SugarKim4203 9 years
lickety split -not all deaf parents have deaf children. They also have hearing children who can speak and sign.
AKirstin AKirstin 9 years
I wonder if they've considered adopting a deaf child, instead?
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
my dad worked with a man that was deaf and they became good friends. his wife and daughter were all deaf as well. after they had worked together for a number of years the whole family got those cochlear implants and none of them liked them. the mom and the daughter got rid of them completly and the dad used his minimally. he use to tell my dad that hearing "all that noise" made him physically sick. it really is a culture to them. i've known a few deaf people myself and i wouldn't consider them disabled, different-abled isn't the same thing. and i think it would be difficult for a family to have a hearing child if they couldn't hear. learning to speak would be really challenging for a baby that wasn't spoken to all day from the day it was born.
Ericka Ericka 9 years
I can understand not choosing an embryo with a genetic disease that will cause suffering and death, but to choose a child because of traits is ridiculous. This isn't like shopping for a pair of shoes or something.
peepshow peepshow 9 years
I don't think anyone should be choosing traits of their children. PERIOD. It's just not natural.
flyinggrip flyinggrip 9 years
Parents who are at risk to have a child with a genetic disorder often choose to use PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) in order to not have a child with an illness, why is choosing to have a child who is deaf any different?
myconscience myconscience 9 years
aside: does anyone know where i can see more really cool actual embryos at various stages of development as the one pictured in this post? that is an awesome pic!
Jessie-M Jessie-M 9 years
I don't think anyone should be picking and choosing what traits their children have like they are choosing toppings on a just doesnt seem right. I think its just as bad to request a deaf child as it is to rule one out on the same basis.
luvhouse07 luvhouse07 9 years
Why would you put a child through a lifetime of that if you didn't have to?
SugarKim4203 SugarKim4203 9 years
I'm in the process of becoming an ASL Intepreter and have had to take countless Deaf Culture classes (btw, there is a difference between Deaf and deaf...more on that another day). While I understand the parents desire to have a Deaf child, I don't think choosing a baby that has any particular trait (blue eyes, tall, short, deaf etc) is right. If your child is supposed to be hearing, then it's supposed to be hearing, or brunette, or tall, or has green eyes, etc.
ann418 ann418 9 years
I agree, not natural at all. Think about how the kid is going to feel if the parents tell him.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
This should not be their choice. I think it is insane.
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
i don't think they should be able to choose. that is NOT natural! whatever's meant to be should be.
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