Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Ethical Retards

..part of me wonders whether speaking the same language or being the same height guarantees closer families. But it’s not for me to say. In the end, our energy is better spent advocating for a society where those factors won’t matter.

Dr. Darshak M. Sanghavi - the morally challenged creature who wrote this article.
If it's wrong to poke your child's eyes out because you want them to become a member of the blind "community", then it's equally wrong to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to increase the possibility a child will be born crippled with a disability.
Wanting to have children who follow in one’s footsteps is an understandable desire. But a coming article in the journal Fertility and Sterility offers a fascinating glimpse into how far some parents may go to ensure that their children stay in their world — by intentionally choosing malfunctioning genes that produce disabilities like deafness or dwarfism.

The article reviews the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or P.G.D., a process in which embryos are created in a test tube and their DNA is analyzed before being transferred to a woman’s uterus. In this manner, embryos destined to have, for example, cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease can be excluded, and only healthy embryos implanted.

Yet Susannah A. Baruch and colleagues at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University recently surveyed 190 American P.G.D. clinics, and found that 3 percent reported having intentionally used P.G.D. “to select an embryo for the presence of a disability.”

In other words, some parents had the painful and expensive fertility procedure for the express purpose of having children with a defective gene. It turns out that some mothers and fathers don’t view certain genetic conditions as disabilities but as a way to enter into a rich, shared culture.
Some people should just not breed.

HT: Billy Beck

Cross posted at The Broom


Mike said...

Can't people just wait a few years for school to retard their offspring for them?

Canadian Patriot said...

Well this is almost a shoe in for gay couples who would like to harvest a baby through a surrogate or with the help of a sperm donor - that is gay as well.

It could be argued that the gay "gene" is infact a geneological mistake.

ryan said...

There is no such thing as a "gay gene":

Among Jeffrey Satinover’s conclusions in “The Gay Gene”:
“(1) There is a genetic component to homosexuality, but ‘component’ is just a loose way of indicating genetic associations and linkages. ‘Linkage’ and ‘association’ do not mean ‘causation.’
(2) There is no evidence that shows that homosexuality is genetic – and none of the research itself claims there is. Only the press and certain researchers do, when speaking in sound bites to the public.”
– Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., The Journal of Human Sexuality, 1996, p.8.

If we believe that Darwin had it right or close to it with his theory of evolution a gay gene, a gene that limits a species ability to reproduce would have been weeded out through natural selection.

The Rat said...

Ryan, Darwin didn't have it right. Take a course on evolution and you'll begin to understand that, and the differences between genotype and phenotype. There are lots of examples of single alleles in a pair providing selectable advantage but two alleles causing harm. Extend that to a multi-genic model and it is easy to see a very wide spectrum of traits like height, temperament, or sexuality varying greatly, providing selectable advantage in certain combinations. Your view, and your quote, are very simplistic.

Eric said...

manual trackback

...When I read, in the New York Times of course, about parents choosing genetic defects for their children and the commentary from Right Wing Nation and The London Fog, my initial reaction was that these people are just plain weird and, as Lisa said, some people just should not breed...

The Phantom said...

Billy, I don't think "retards" quite covers it. That would imply they are not really to blame, what with being retards and all. I'm thinking "evil" might be closer. Unfashionable concept I know, but still.

Alex said...

On the other hand, it's doubtful that such a trend would last long. Imagine what will happen when the geneticaly engineered deaf, blind, retarded midget finds out that he or she could have had a normal life if not for his/her parents intentional meddling with genes.

"Double murder suicide" sounds about right.