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Monday, September 25, 2006

Euegenics? Maybe Not.

I posted about the science of pre-implantation diagnosis, and my fears that the procedure creates a slippery slope toward eugenics. This interesting bit from Slate shows that in a small minority of instances, that worry is unfounded:
Deformer Babies
The deliberate crippling of children.
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. (For Human Nature's take, including more findings from the survey, click here.)
Fascinating to read about the other side of the designer-baby coin.

6 Comments:

Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Purposely choosing for a baby to be born with a defect of any type sounds like the height of selfishness and cruelty.

There happens to be a subset of people with deafness who resent advances being made in auditory repair (e.g. cochlear implants, etc.) because they feel these will render their way of life obsolete. They insist that they are just different (which is true) and that forcing hearing technologies and rigorous speech instruction on babies born deaf is a violation of their civil rights (which is ludicrous).

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The math doesn't work that way. Not that many places have developed those kind of specialized probes that test a single gene. It's probably just one clinic doing it over and over again, and just for the deaf-culture weirdos.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the question is this...are you going to have the courage to report on the chicken sacndal brwing right here in Cedarhurst.....?

8:22 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

There is no chicken scandal in Cedarhurst, you idiot.

I know exactly what you're talking about and there is no scandal. So shut up and stop spreading rumors!!

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

having been through ivf( successfully) where pgd is standard protocol in some practices ( it was in ours) i wonder why you WOULD NOT want to know if a child is being born with a crippiling disease or birth defect? If you dont have children with BD then you have no right to judge.. and if you do... then it is still innapropriate to judge how others would react in a similar situation. I think you implied assumption is an arrogant one.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Orthomom's Lawyer said...

Anonymous -- you should have much nachas from your children. But you yourself need to reread the post. Noone is judging you and it's curious why you're so defensive. And having conceived a child via IVF doesn't entitle you and your fellow IVF mothers a monopoly on all discussion pertaning to the subject. Incidentally, your tone is pretty arrogant.

The post makes no claim to be judging those who opt for IVF-PGD for purposes of detecting birth defects. It's about parents selecting embryos BECAUSE of their defects. Which, by the way, is demented.

9:37 PM  

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