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Is it wrong to select a deaf embryo?

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New fertility legislation will make it illegal to use embryos with a known genetic abnormality in IVF treatment when ones without the same defect are available.

 

Some deaf activists contend they do not have a disability

 

For a long time, the debate about the genetic testing of embryos has focused on whether we should stop people creating the "perfect" person: blonde, blue-eyed, with athletic prowess and a high IQ.

 

The Nazi spectre of eugenics has frequently been invoked.

 

Now a deaf couple have turned this on its head: far from wanting a flawless child they actively want a baby which suffers the same hearing difficulties as they themselves.

 

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.

 

But to others - both those who can hear and those who cannot - deliberately bringing a child with a disability into the world when one without could be born verges on the morally repugnant.

 

Slippery slope?

 

Tomato Lichy and his partner already have one deaf child, for which they are profoundly grateful.

 

But they may eventually like another - and IVF, given the mother's age, may be the only option.

 

Yet if the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill goes through as it stands, their chances of having a deaf child would be small.

 

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.

 

But the fact that they cannot give the deaf child preference over the hearing, Mr Lichy contends, suggests that his life as a deaf person is not one worth living.

 

"Despite the fact that over time we have seen more and more rights for disabled people they are now seeking to establish a legal principle that deaf people are inferior - and there may be more laws once this gap opens."

 

What message does it send to their deaf daughter, he asks, whom later they will have to tell: "We had a deaf embryo but the government said we were not allowed to have it".

 

Rich world

 

One of the beliefs he holds most dear is that deafness is any event not a disability.

 

From his perspective, the inability to hear is an integral part of his identity, and it is those who are able to hear who are at a disadvantage in a world of deaf plays, deaf poetry, and deaf jokes.

 

But his argument that he is not disabled is not one accepted by some of those who campaign on behalf of those who cannot hear.

 

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People does not support the choice of deaf embryos over those who would not be born with hearing problems.

 

"No-one should be forced into having genetic testing if they don't want it. But if they do, we would want the embryos without the gene to be implanted," says its chief executive Jackie Ballard.

 

"Deafness is a disability and we have spent a long time campaigning to improve the lives of people who live with it. But it is certainly not a slight to the deaf to say it is better to bring a child who will face the least difficulty into the world, when there is a choice to be made."

 

Storm in a teacup?

 

Only a tiny minority of deaf or hard-of-hearing people in the UK see themselves as part of a community with a distinct identity in the way that Mr Lichy sees himself.

 

Moreover, the current, increasingly febrile debate is about an action which has never taken place in the UK and is based on a couple who have yet even to seek IVF treatment.

 

Research carried out at Leeds University found the vast majority of deaf people polled expressed no preference - and would be happy with either a deaf or a hearing child.

 

In addition, IVF births - which are those at issue - make up just 1% of all deliveries in this country.

 

Combined with the tiny proportion of these parents who would be both deaf and strongly desire a child who could not hear, we may not even be looking at a case a decade, experts say.

 

"Given that we are looking at such at a very small number of people, I think we can afford to be quite liberal about this," says Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Centre for Applied Ethics.

 

"Deafness is a disability, but it is not one that stops people having a life that's worth living - and if there are a handful of people out there who want a deaf child, they can find a doctor who will help them, and they are prepared to pay for it, then so be it."

 

But regardless of how rare it would be, the government is thought unlikely to change its mind on this particular clause.

 

If they do opt for IVF, Mr Lichy and his partner may end up with what they see as a "disabled" child: one that can hear

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The guys first name is Tomato, which probably suggests he shouldn't be allowed to breed in the first place.

 

 

Actively selecting for deafness is another reason they shouldn't be allowed to breed (thinking there is nothing wrong with being deaf is a long, long way from inflicting it on a person without their consent).

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Complete arseholes quite frankly. To deliberately inflict a disability on a child and leave them with it for the rest of their lives because you want to try to prove some point is about as selfish and moronic as you can get. In fact i'd ban them from having any children ever as they've proven they're essentially chuild abusers with what they're planning.

 

Its a totally different thing from eugenics and creating perfect clones and superhumans or whatever else gets dragged into the debate.

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If they do opt for IVF, Mr Lichy and his partner may end up with what they see as a "disabled" child: one that can hear

 

I'd have the fuckers shot for that comment/idea.

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Some deaf people do believe in this "deaf community" thingee though. There's even a town set up for this aspect. They see it as a "deaf culture" a part of which they want their children to be. Are we really in a place to determine what someone else's 'culture' is? I tend to think that they're point of view is ridiculous, but I don't know if I, or even a majority of people, should be able to determine what a "culture" really is.

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I can see their point tbh.

 

in as much as not wanting their child to miss out on 'deaf culture', ie being able to communicate through a different language.

 

and of course language equals identity equals community...culture.....history etc etc blah blah

 

i can understand that. but to deliberately 'switch off' one of the senses ??

 

cant sign language be taught to anyone?

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Without wanting to sound patronising, I'm all for people finding their own place in the world but thats their choice - I'm sure a lot of deaf people want to live as normal a life as possible and would love to be able to hear. The idea however of giving a kid this problem deliberately is going way too far in celebrating a culture.

 

I'm very much opposed to male circumcision on lack of choice grounds (and I'd consider nuking countries which practice FGM) but thats small beer compared with this.

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Some deaf people do believe in this "deaf community" thingee though. There's even a town set up for this aspect. They see it as a "deaf culture" a part of which they want their children to be. Are we really in a place to determine what someone else's 'culture' is? I tend to think that they're point of view is ridiculous, but I don't know if I, or even a majority of people, should be able to determine what a "culture" really is.
I can see their point tbh.

 

in as much as not wanting their child to miss out on 'deaf culture', ie being able to communicate through a different language.

 

and of course language equals identity equals community...culture.....history etc etc blah blah

 

i can understand that. but to deliberately 'switch off' one of the senses ??

 

cant sign language be taught to anyone?

 

 

The thing is they are want to use IVF (a completely artificial process) and further than that to actually select an embyo to be deaf (and incredibly artificial process).

 

Once you've gone that far their have to be "rules" IMO, and in this case the only sensible way is to protect the kids "rights" and not allow deafness to be inflicted upon it.

 

If they want another choice they can always try and natural way (and if they can't conceive that way.... tough).

 

 

 

It's a nonsense anyway, as any child that can hear could quite easily be brought up with sign as a join 1st language, just like bi-lingual kids are brought up normally.

 

Although being deaf and living with it isn't a "culture" or even "natural" to be completely frank, not hearing that bear walking up behind you would be a bit of a natural selection downer.

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I can see their point tbh.

 

in as much as not wanting their child to miss out on 'deaf culture', ie being able to communicate through a different language.

 

and of course language equals identity equals community...culture.....history etc etc blah blah

 

i can understand that. but to deliberately 'switch off' one of the senses ??

 

cant sign language be taught to anyone?

 

as an aside Laz yes it can because I was taught sign landuage and the swear words are great....

Edited by Radgina

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Guest alex

You can select an embryo that will be deaf or one that won't be. What sort of sick fucker would select the former?

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Guest Stevie

My mother is a member of SPUC, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, she's a proper Roman Catholic lass me ma. Anyway, she got me to write a personal letter to the House of Lords or some cunt lobbying to ban some act, researchers want legalised. Apparently part of the act would include the allowance of production of pre born hybrids, with cells and dna crossed with animals in the name of research. At the end of the day fuck that, we all seen what happened in the Fly, and who are we to play god.

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Guest alex

Depends if you think God exists or not I suppose. I'm all for debate about the morality and ethics of embryonic research etc. mind.

Edited by alex

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My mother is a member of SPUC, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, she's a proper Roman Catholic lass me ma. Anyway, she got me to write a personal letter to the House of Lords or some cunt lobbying to ban some act, researchers want legalised. Apparently part of the act would include the allowance of production of pre born hybrids, with cells and dna crossed with animals in the name of research. At the end of the day fuck that, we all seen what happened in the Fly, and who are we to play god.

 

In all honesty this is why they public is best off being kept in their usual ignorance about such things (or educated properly, but that'll never happen), and why religion should never be involved. :lol:

 

Much like with genetically modified crops (which we all have been eating for 1000's of years anyway), the reality is almost completely different to the wild scaremongering (which isn't to say strong safe guards shouldn't be in place).

 

It's just a "cleaned" cow egg being used to produce the relevant stem cells (rather than a usually "cleaned" human egg, because cow eggs are much more widely and easily available) - more like a stem cell "factory" than anything else really.

 

In either case it's a question of cells as the term "embryo" is really just a technical term, certainly the pill routinely "kills" more advanced and viable embryos every day. Also there's no real crossing of DNA, any more than a person becomes one with a bus when catching a ride. Nor I believe would they be viable, even if they were to be implanted in a womb (which is rightly illegal).

 

Although as it happens the whole embryo research thing is probably becoming out of date anyway with other advancements, but the potential cures for horrible human diseases makes them a more than worthwhile avenue.

 

People aren't playing God by understanding genetics any more than they are by understanding that the Earth moves around the Sun. Frankly if God existed and didn't want us to understand genetics, he/she/it would have made it a lot more complex than it is. :lol:

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Dr Frankenstein produces Minotaur!!!

AriadneMinotaurVallejo.jpg

Bikini clad babes live in fear!

 

 

 

 

 

Would have been a better one. :lol:

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