• It has come to our attention that some users may have been "banned" when they tried to change their passwords after the site was hacked due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software. This would have occurred around the end of February and does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you believe you were affected by this, please contact a staff member or use the Contact us link at the bottom of any forum page.

Designing a Deaf Baby, what ethical issues does it raise?


D

Dylan2010

An interesting ethical dilemma , is it "right" to set out to have a deaf baby? or even stronger to select one as part of an IVF treatment? At one end at the extreme it could be argued that its little different to the Slumdog approach of taking away one of the senses, to its an "equality" issue and that deaf people have the same rights as everyone else and that that particular baby wouldnt be born unless the deaf couple positively chose it.

To the best of my knowledge its not allowed in the UK as part an IVF treatment but obviously there is nothing illegal in seeking out a deaf doner to increase the odds as part of a regular conception.

I only raise this purely as a discussion topic to see how other other posters run this thought their ethical prism. Its a minor issue in the scheme of things. My main ethical issue would be creating a deliberate burden on the taxpayer via additional educational or welfare costs which falls outside of any "insurance" view of taxation you might have. In the future what if it was possible to mapipulate a gene to cause deafness in a healthy foetus?

thoughts or views?


a random article for info

Breaking News: The Ethics of Designing a Deaf Baby : The Hearing Journal

A deaf couple from Maryland, Candace McCullough and Sharon Duchesneau, made headlines in 2002 when they spoke with The Washington Post about their decision to seek out a deaf sperm donor. (The Washington Post March 31, 2002.) (See FastLinks.) The donor had generations of deafness in his family, and Ms. McCullough and Ms. Duchesneau wanted to ensure that their children, Jehanne and Gauvin, would also be deaf. It's not illegal in the United States to use assisted reproductive technology to try to conceive a deaf child, though the couple was turned down by several sperm banks before turning to a family friend.
“Some people look at it like, ‘You shouldn't have a child who has a disability.’ But, you know, black people have harder lives. Why shouldn't parents be able to go ahead and pick a black donor if that's what they want,” Ms. McCullough asked the Post in 2002. “They should have that option. They can feel related to that culture, bonded with that culture.”
Several years later, a British couple, Thomas Lichy and Paula Garfield, protested against laws that would prohibit selecting a disabled embryo when a normal one was available. The proposed amendment was specifically aimed at situations in which deaf parents tried to use assisted reproduction to produce or select deaf embryos. (The Telegraph April 13, 2008.) (See FastLinks.)
 

SilverSpurs

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
5,550
Any ethical questions are easily answered.

No such attempt should be facilitated by anyone in the medical professions.

The analogy between having a deaf child and having a black child is ridiculous.
What about their 'right to choose'?????
 

Toland

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
64,439
Website
www.aggressive-secularist.com
What about their 'right to choose'?????

One question mark is always enough!

We are talking about a baby here, not just a clump of cells that has the potential to develop into a baby.

PS: Try to keep the abortion issue to the many abortion threads. Link to this thread if you must, but try not to derail it with another, entirely separate issue.
 

stringjack

1
Moderator
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
3,892
We are talking about a baby here, not just a clump of cells that has the potential to develop into a baby.
Well, no, we're not. We're talking about selecting which cells are going to develop into a baby on the basis of the characteristics of those cells. We're not, for example, talking about taking a five-year-old and destroying his hearing (though we might be talking about taking a foetus or embryo and interfering in such a way as to destroy a capacity for hearing).
 
D

Dylan2010

Any ethical questions are easily answered.

No such attempt should be facilitated by anyone in the medical professions.

The analogy between having a deaf child and having a black child is ridiculous.
I'd agree that a doctor shouldnt be forced to implement this choice and I'd have to guess that medical associations would be against this and would prevent a sympathetic doctor from going ahead with it and such a doctor would thus risk loosing their licence to practice. It would still leave the association open to legal challenges though using the ever present "equality" ace up the sleeve.
 

cabledude

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
6,362
Where would this stop then. Trying to 'design' a baby with webbed feet to make it a swimming olympian. Or a dwarf baby to make it a movie extra. Babies are people. Not accessories like handbags or iPhones.

For anyone to even consider genetic selection to conceive a deaf baby is quite disturbing. The theft of such a fundamental sensory ability as hearing is inhumane. Why intentionally bring a baby into this world that has not got the ability to hear music or laughter. Simple stuff. If a baby is naturally born deaf, fair enough. Help the little mite with all the technology available to mankind. But to select a sperm donor who is deaf in the hopes of conceiving a deaf baby is just disturbing.

Some people should not be allowed to keep pets. Never mind have children.
 

ruserious

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
29,598
I'm sorry but nobody has a right to chose whether they can have a disabled child. The child's welfare is number one unless the mother's life is at risk.
 

Dame_Enda

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
52,073
Setting out to create a person and to give them a serious disability should be illegal.
 

Toland

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
64,439
Website
www.aggressive-secularist.com
Well, no, we're not. We're talking about selecting which cells are going to develop into a baby on the basis of the characteristics of those cells. We're not, for example, talking about taking a five-year-old and destroying his hearing (though we might be talking about taking a foetus or embryo and interfering in such a way as to destroy a capacity for hearing).
We're talking about deliberately creating a baby with a severe disability.
 

cabledude

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
6,362
I'd agree that a doctor shouldnt be forced to implement this choice and I'd have to guess that medical associations would be against this and would prevent a sympathetic doctor from going ahead with it and such a doctor would thus risk loosing their licence to practice. It would still leave the association open to legal challenges though using the ever present "equality" ace up the sleeve.
But what about equality for the baby. Surely the baby should have a right to hear? Who has the right to take away someones ability to hear. Just so that the baby has the same disability as the parents. Weirdos.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
10,769
I think many/most deaf people don't consider themselves to be disabled and I think that's an admirable attitude even if is somewhat false. There is this whole idea about deaf culture which I really don't get - deaf people see themselves as a distinct community just as rich in culture as any other.
 

cabledude

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
6,362
Well, no, we're not. We're talking about selecting which cells are going to develop into a baby on the basis of the characteristics of those cells. We're not, for example, talking about taking a five-year-old and destroying his hearing (though we might be talking about taking a foetus or embryo and interfering in such a way as to destroy a capacity for hearing).
There is no real difference Stringjack. End result is unnecessary deafness in a child.
 

stringjack

1
Moderator
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
3,892
There is no real difference Stringjack. End result is unnecessary deafness in a child.
Suppose you're deciding whether to conceive a child with person A or with person B (both of whom would like to conceive a child with you). You've decided that, for the time being, you only want to have one child. You'd rather have a child with person A, but genetic testing determines that the child you would conceive with person A would have an IQ of 85, while the child you conceive with person B would have an IQ of 115. Suppose you go ahead and conceive a child with person A anyway. Have you done something wrong?
 
D

Dylan2010

But what about equality for the baby. Surely the baby should have a right to hear? Who has the right to take away someones ability to hear. Just so that the baby has the same disability as the parents. Weirdos.
Ill leave aside the for now "sifi" gene manipulation question, but the argument would go that that particular child would not be born otherwise, you essentially would be picking "his" non deaf "brother/sister" to be born. So later on I'm sure the deaf child would have agreed the choice made.
And in saying that for "regular" people to make such a choice would instantly be seen as bat sh1t crazy, selfish.......
 

Astral Peaks

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2010
Messages
25,986
Suppose you're deciding whether to conceive a child with person A or with person B (both of whom would like to conceive a child with you). You've decided that, for the time being, you only want to have one child. You'd rather have a child with person A, but genetic testing determines that the child you would conceive with person A would have an IQ of 85, while the child you conceive with person B would have an IQ of 115. Suppose you go ahead and conceive a child with person A anyway. Have you done something wrong?
No, how could you have done anything "wrong"?
 

sauntersplash

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
3,466
Any ethical questions are easily answered.

No such attempt should be facilitated by anyone in the medical professions.

The analogy between having a deaf child and having a black child is ridiculous.
Well questions of any sort are easily answered. Answering them with convincing justifications is the challenging part. I would've thought you would be aware of that.
 

sauntersplash

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
3,466
We're talking about deliberately creating a baby with a severe disability.
But I suppose the real question being asked relates to whether extending equality with a capital e to disabled people necessarily entails a correletive reduction of the importance or relevence of their disability.

Taken to a "logical" conclusion, there must be an area where shining a positive light on the disability actually displays it in a positive light. ie Makes it possible to see some positive aspects to it. I think the case presented in the OP is certainly worth thinking about.
 
Top