Thursday, 1 May 2008

Parental Obligation

Just a quick post while I am waiting for my printer to finish with my latest assignment.

When the Human Genome Project cracked the code of life(a little emotive language to brighten your day) we developed the ever unspooling ability to design the genetic traits of our offspring. We can choose for them to have blue eyes, or brown hair. I even knew in a few generations It would be able to replace the defective gene that creates my condition (retinitis pigmentosa). When I first heard this I realised it wouldnt be long before this was exploited but I never Imagined in such despicable ways.

Members of the deaf community(not all but a large number of deaf organisations and individuals) petitioned the government to sanction IVF causing their future offspring to be deaf. They felt that having a child that could hear would create too large a communication barrier and cause a rift in 'normal family life'. How do they think the child will feel when (s)he finds out that the reason they have this massive disability is because of their parents selfishness. Surely its the natural desire of all parents for their children to be healthy physically and mentally. In my opinion creating a child with a deliberate defect should be considered criminal negligence both on the part of the parents and any scientists involved.

Fortunately in a rare show of ethical resolve the government refused to sanction such gene therapies.

The BBC and the Nursing Standard both report on this.

1 comment:

Darkwinter said...

Absolutely agree with you on this one; any such choices should always lie with the subjects themselves - and can you really imagine anyone choosing to be deaf?

If sexuality is genetic, that'll be another area of controversy on this score no doubt.

On a completely unrelated note, because you're not on MSN at the moment I'll fire this link at you here instead: an article that deals with the matter of altruism and selfishness in evolution. Thought it might appeal.