Friday, September 22, 2006

Slate: Deformer Babies

Following is the first paragraph of William Saletan's article in the Septermber 21, 2006 edition of Slate:
"Several U.S. fertility clinics admit they've helped couples deliberately select defective embryos. According to a new survey report, "Some prospective parents have sought [preimplantation genetic diagnosis] to select an embryo for the presence of a particular disease or disability, such as deafness, in order that the child would share that characteristic with the parents. Three percent of IVF-PGD clinics report having provided PGD to couples who seek to use PGD in this manner." Since 1) the United States has more than 400 fertility clinics, 2) more than two-thirds that answered the survey offer PGD, and 3) some clinics that have done it may not have admitted it, the best guess is that at least eight U.S. clinics have done it. Old fear: designer babies. New fear: deformer babies. ..."

(The bold-face and links are from the original article)

I really don't know what to say... Except that I am disturbed.


Quotidian Grace said...

Oh, Lord. I'm speechless, too. It is profoundly disturbing.

Denis Hancock said...

It isn't even a matter of choice here (at least not in the traditional "pro choice" way).

We are not talking of the choice to have or not have a child; we are dealing with the choice to implant embryos that are known to have a genetic error and discarding those that are normal.

I have a great respect for those who are faced with such challenges as deafness or blindness. They have been dealt a reality that they must face, and most face it courageously.

But to deliberately inflict such a choice on a baby?

There are a lot of red flags waving here...