Embryo screening, also known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis, is encountering a controversy it hasn’t faced before. The $15,000 PGD procedure, in which a cell from a days-old embryo created through in-vitro fertilization is harvested and checked for genetic defects before implantation in the mother’s womb, acts as a screening process for parents. This procedure is typically used to screen the embryos for abnormalities that could harm the embryo during pregnancy or the birthing process.
However, recently, some parents with disabilities have been using this procedure to ensure their children have disabilities as well.
In a recent survey of U.S. clinics, it was discovered that four clinics have used PGD to help couples with disabilities have infants with the same disabilities. However, because the clinics surveyed were promised anonymity, there’s no way to contact these clinics to find out whether or not any mothers that underwent such a procedure had successful pregnancies.
Stirring quite an uproar over the ethics of such testing, parents with disabilities have argued that they don’t see themselves as having a disability. Although it’s nice that they are confident, optimistic and happy with themselves, who’s to say that a child being born with a disability will feel the same way?
These parents are basing their decisions on how they feel and disregarding how their children will feel once they are capable of understanding their situation. In most cases, there’s nothing that children with disabilities can do to reverse their situation. They must deal the best that they can with what they have.
Who are these parents to force a disability upon their child just because they have learned to adapt to theirs? Imagine the anger and confusion of their children when they learn that they’re disabled because their parents wanted their children to be just like them.
Many people are arguing from a religious standpoint, saying it’s not right for disabled parents to play God and impose a disability upon their child, but I find this argument faulty, as it can be applied the other way around. If you’re screening embryos and discarding them for any reason, you’re taking matters into your hands and picking and choosing what you’d like.
Therefore, put the religious argument aside and think about the ethical situation we’ve got on our hands. People are often against the concept of creating ‘perfect’ human beings, but purposely having disabled children is no better. Disabled parents see it as their right to create a child that they can relate to, making the PGD baby their perfect child. Folks, it looks like it’s beginning. Parents are using science to pick and choose their children.
Though this argument makes us all squirm