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Choosing Deafness with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: An Ethical Way to Carry on a Cultural Bloodline?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2009


These words were written by ethicist Jonathan Glover in his paper “Future People, Disability and Screening” in 1992. Whereas screening and choosing for a disability remained a theoretical possibility 16 years ago, it has now become reality. In 2006, Susannah Baruch and colleagues at John Hopkins University published a survey of 190 American preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) clinics, and found that 3% reported having the intentional use of PGD “to select an embryo for the presence of a disability.” Even before, in 2002, a controversy was generated by the case of Candace A. McCullough and Sharon M. Duchesneau, a lesbian and deaf couple from Maryland who set out to have a deaf child (then, Gauvin) by intentionally soliciting a deaf sperm donor.

Special Section: Open Forum
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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