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Author Topic: Can it be ethical to design a baby to be deaf?  (Read 2748 times)

Offline grossoehme56

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Is it ethical for deaf parents to use Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis to choose to make their child deaf?

Lucas Grossoehme
Collaborative Team Google Doc & Individual Discussion Forum Post Assignment
   The specific research question that will be unraveled in this discussion is the question, “Is it ethical to change cosmetic traits when designer babies are made?” Many researchers, doctors, scientists, and parents have a lot to say about this and there are many opinions on designer babies. Some people agree that designer babies should allow scientists to not only try to prevent diseases using preimplantation genetic diagnosis, but they think that scientists should be allowed to use PGD for cosmetic reasons as well. Some people think that scientists should be allowed to use PGD for preventing diseases, but not for cosmetic reasons. No one that has been researched has had the opinion that scientists should use PGD for only cosmetic reasons and not to prevent diseases, but there is probably one person out there that would think that should be allowed for some reason. The last opinion about designer babies is that none of it should occur. Those people do not think that PGD should even be done and definitely do not think that PGD should be used for either preventing diseases or cosmetic reasons.
   In the research specific to this paper, the most interesting thing that was found was the debate for what should be allowed to happen to a particular child. Two deaf parents wanted to use PGD to make their child deaf along with them. This sparks a whole lot of debate and gives a lot of power to the parents and could result in many things. With today’s science this is a possible thing to do. However, in this case, science has surpassed the legal system in this aspect. There are no specific laws telling doctors what they can and cannot do in regards to PGD. In the eyes of most doctors they would probably want to do it simply because they will make a lot of money from doing the procedure. How ethical is it to make a child deaf on purpose though? The parents argue it will make the child a better person. They think they have had quality lives and would like their child to experience the same quality life they had. This is great for them that they have had good lives to live while being deaf, but what if their child ever found out that his parents could have made it so he could speak and hear? Some children would be angry beyond belief, some would be okay with it. However, do the parents have the right to take away the right to be able to hear from their child? Most people are against them but it is still a topic that needs to be debated about. The outcome of if the child was allowed to be made deaf was not included in the source. It was just a debate of if it would be ethical to do such a thing.

( Source title and author). From "designer babies" to "deformer babies": Should reproductive choices be a matter for legal regulation? By Thu Minh Nguyen
« Last Edit: 04/06/2014 11:22:20 by Georgia »


 

Offline schramsb

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Re: Designer baby ethics
« Reply #1 on: 22/04/2014 16:43:30 »
Very interesting discussion, I am curious as to what makes these parents believe that this is okay.  This almost kind of angers me.  Why would any parent want to make their child deaf?  I am so mad.  The more I think about this, the more angry I become.  I am throwing a tantrum right now... I need to go back to Taco Bell and get the Beefy Nacho Loaded Griller.  I enjoyed your topic and it was fascinating, I look forward to your future posts. 

Schramsb
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Designer baby ethics
« Reply #2 on: 22/04/2014 18:30:09 »
It may be difficult for a deaf couple to have a hearing baby.  But, I agree that forcing a child to be deaf is a bit beyond belief.  What about a blind couple wanting a blind baby?  However, there has been some debate whether already deaf children should be given cochlear implants, vs learning to lip read, sign language, and etc.

Cosmetics?  It would be very difficult to determine what a 3 month fetus will ultimately look like.  Many things like cleft lips are routinely fixed, depending on the extent of the problem.  Would a Thalidomide baby be considered cosmetic?

For eons both men and women have selected mates based on who they think would make a good parent for future children, perhaps selecting traits of beauty, musculature, or on occasion academic prowess. 

Modern medicine has been taking "survival of the fittest" out of the equation, with many infants being born and surviving to reproductive age that never would have been able to in the past.

Artificial Insemination can allow a person to choose from additional characteristics that they might not otherwise have had available. 
« Last Edit: 23/04/2014 15:57:11 by CliffordK »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Designer baby ethics
« Reply #3 on: 23/04/2014 15:30:40 »
A child can choose to sign, not to hear, or even to permanently deafen himself, if he so wishes. It's difficult if not impossible to undeafen someone who is genetically unable to hear. So whilst preimplantation diagnosis might legitimately give parents the right to bear a deaf child, preimplantation or in-utero manipulation to deafen an otherwise normal fetus would be unethical. 

The subject of cochlear implants raises an unusual ethical question, with wider implications. If we implant a profoundly deaf child before the age of 3 he will grow up with at least "hard of hearing" ability and integrate into general society like anyone else with a hearing aid. However this social integration is dependent on maintaining an electronic device for maybe 90 years. This is longer than any electronics manufacturing company (with the possible exception of Marconi) has ever existed, and 30 times the normal commercial life of any electronic product. So how do we guarantee that our subject will continue to integrate into hearing society, or how do we propose to rehabilitate him into deaf society at the apex of his hearing career and family life? Reworking an implant is a messy business at the best of times and decreasingly successful with age - brain plasticity is essential if the subject is to learn to decode the electrical signals. Who is liable for supporting the software for the next 90 years?   
 

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Re: Designer baby ethics
« Reply #3 on: 23/04/2014 15:30:40 »

 

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