T Nation

Intentionally Designing Deaf Children

DEAF parents should be allowed to screen their embryos so they can pick a deaf child over one that has all its senses intact, according to the chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (RNID).

Jackie Ballard, a former Liberal Democrat MP, says that although the vast majority of deaf parents would want a child who has normal hearing, a small minority of couples would prefer to create a child who is effectively disabled, to fit in better with the family lifestyle.

Ballard�??s stance is likely to be welcomed by other deaf organisations, including the British Deaf Association (BDA), which is campaigning to amend government legislation to allow the creation of babies with disabilities.

A clause in the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, which is passing through the House of Lords, would make it illegal for parents undergoing embryo screening to choose an embryo with an abnormality if healthy embryos exist.

In America a deaf couple deliberately created a baby with hearing difficulties by choosing a sperm donor with generations of deafness in his family.

This would be impossible under the bill in its present form in the UK. Disability charities say this makes the proposed legislation discriminatory, because it gives parents the right to create �??designer babies�?? free from genetic conditions while banning couples from deliberately creating a baby with a disability.

The prospect of selecting �??deaf embryos�?? is likely to be seized on by campaigners against genetic screening who will argue that this is an inevitable outcome of allowing �??designer babies�??.

Doctors are opposed to creating deaf babies. Professor Gedis Grudzinskas, medical director of the Bridge Centre, a clinic in London that screens embyros, said: �??This would be an abuse of medical technology. Deafness is not the normal state, it is a disability. To deliberately create a deaf embryo would be contrary to the ethos of our society.�??

Ballard, who previously ran into controversy as director-general of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) where she pushed through extensive job cuts, said in an interview with The Sunday Times: �??Most parents would choose to have a hearing embryo, but for those few parents who do not, we think they should be allowed to exercise that choice and we would support them in that decision.

�??There are a number of deaf forums where there are discussions about this. There are a small minority of activists who say that there is a cultural identity in being born deaf and that we should not destroy that cultural identity by preventing children from being born deaf.�??

Ballard added: �??We would like to retain, as far as possible, parental choice, but it has to be in conjunction with a clinician so that people know exactly what they are choosing.�??

Next month a coalition of disability organisations will launch a campaign to amend the bill to make it possible for parents to choose the embryos that carry a genetic abnormality.

Francis Murphy, chairman of the BDA, said: �??If choice of embryos for implantation is to be given to citizens in general, and if hearing and other people are allowed to choose embryos that will be �??like them�??, sharing the same characteristics, language and culture, then we believe that deaf people should have the same right.�??

Murphy added that the BDA believes it is very unlikely that it would become common for deaf parents to deliberately create deaf children.

To create a �??designer baby�?? using preimplantation genetic diagnosis, couples need to go through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) even if they could conceive naturally. The embryos created are then genetically screened and normally only the healthy ones are implanted in the mother�??s womb.

This weekend the RNID played down Ballard�??s comments by pointing out that the charity does not advocate deliberately creating deaf babies.

A spokesman said: �??While the RNID believes in the individual�??s right to choose, we would not actively encourage the selection of deaf embryos over hearing ones for implantation when both are available.�??

Wow… I’m not even gonna touch this one…

Have fun explaining to your children why they are deaf. That won’t cause any rebellion.

At CSU Frsno I had to take a Deaf Culture Class for my Upper Division GE and it was very interesting to say the least! The most shocking part was when the text book stated that, “culturally Deaf individuals despise oralism.” I called B.S. and explained to the two teachers who were also Deaf that I don’t think that statement is true.

After all despise means an intense hatred and is far to strong of a word when it comes to the spoken American Language. After all Hitler despised the Jews! But the teachers reassured me that I was wrong and that many in the Deaf community feel the same way! Boy was I shocked as the majority of the class could hear fine and it was interesting to think that these individuals despised my speaking in class.

Wait, so these asshats™ want genetic defects in there children?

It’s worse than this - along the same vein, some parents won’t let their children receive medical procedures to cure deafness, and others have advocated removing the ability to hear from children who have not been born deaf or suffered a medical condition that made them deaf. This is the end of stupid theories of political correctness that hold there is no real truth.

Some families that pass on deafness have been arguing amongst themselves as to weather they should cure their kids or not now that there are cures for some of these problems.

The mistake is that they believe they have the right to decide to make another person live with a handicap.

As far as the abortions, it should be noted that the most common reason for an abortion is because the fetus is female.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
As far as the abortions, it should be noted that the most common reason for an abortion is because the fetus is female.[/quote]

References please.

[quote]lixy wrote:
The Mage wrote:
As far as the abortions, it should be noted that the most common reason for an abortion is because the fetus is female.

References please.[/quote]

I think he’s counting China.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
lixy wrote:
The Mage wrote:
As far as the abortions, it should be noted that the most common reason for an abortion is because the fetus is female.

References please.

I think he’s counting China.[/quote]

And India.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
lixy wrote:
The Mage wrote:
As far as the abortions, it should be noted that the most common reason for an abortion is because the fetus is female.

References please.

I think he’s counting China.

And India.

[/quote]

I saw a PBS special about abortions in India that showed the ultrasounds they use right in the market to check the sex of the child before they go down the street to have an abortion.

It was amazing to see them using a high tech machine is such a setting. The only use was to determine the sex so they could decide to abort or not.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
The Mage wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
lixy wrote:
The Mage wrote:
Fishstix wrote:
Gelvin wrote:
Bubaboebobrain wrote:
Alfred E. Neuman wrote:
Satan wrote:
The Baron wrote:

I saw a PBS special about abortions in India that showed the ultrasounds they use right in the market to check the sex of the child before they go down the street to have an abortion.

It was amazing to see them using a high tech machine is such a setting. The only use was to determine the sex so they could decide to abort or not.[/quote]

The reasons are different in India then China. In India it is actually related to money. The father of the bride is supposed to supply a dowry to the married couple, so daughters are not desired.

In China since a couple can only have one child, they want a son, and are actually find it quite embarrassing to have a daughter. It has become such a problem that China has made it illegal for doctors to tell the parents the sex of the child. But that hasn’t really done anything because they still find out from the doctor, unofficially.

I don’t know about India, but China’s population is heading for a crash. In 1980 they had 108.5 boys to 100 girls, but that is now almost 120 to 100. Realize this actually means that due to the 1 child per family rule, 10% of the population will not be having any children, as there will be no women to bear their children.

Just take the math out 2 generations, and once the older people start to die off the country is going to go through a shocking drop in their population.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
Some families that pass on deafness have been arguing amongst themselves as to weather they should cure their kids or not now that there are cures for some of these problems.

The mistake is that they believe they have the right to decide to make another person live with a handicap. [/quote]

Reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut short story, “Harrison Bergeron”. In the story, equality has been achieved by handicapping the intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the highest common endowment.

[quote]Loose Tool wrote:

Reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut short story, “Harrison Bergeron”. In the story, equality has been achieved by handicapping the intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the highest common endowment.

[/quote]

I remember reading that in lit… it was a very moving piece. Mind fucked a lot of my near-socialist classmates.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Loose Tool wrote:

Reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut short story, “Harrison Bergeron”. In the story, equality has been achieved by handicapping the intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the highest common endowment.

I remember reading that in lit… it was a very moving piece. Mind fucked a lot of my near-socialist classmates. [/quote]

[i]THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.[/i]

[quote]Loose Tool wrote:

Reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut short story, “Harrison Bergeron”. In the story, equality has been achieved by handicapping the intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the highest common endowment.

[/quote]

http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Loose Tool wrote:

Reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut short story, “Harrison Bergeron”. In the story, equality has been achieved by handicapping the intelligent, athletic or beautiful members of society down to the level of the highest common endowment.

http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html

[/quote]

It reads like an Atomic Dog.

You know, I have heard parents call in and complain about their school ignoring a gifted child because the school didn’t want the child to be negatively affected and stand out, and also to make sure the other children didn’t feel bad that they were not gifted.

(Never heard about this for sports, interestingly enough.)

Maybe Kurt Vonnegut was a little more prescient then we thought.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
You know, I have heard parents call in and complain about their school ignoring a gifted child because the school didn’t want the child to be negatively affected and stand out, and also to make sure the other children didn’t feel bad that they were not gifted.

(Never heard about this for sports, interestingly enough.)

Maybe Kurt Vonnegut was a little more prescient then we thought.

[/quote]

He was a genius.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:

He was a genius.[/quote]

Well of course, he had the hair.