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Why Use Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis to Ensure the Birth of a Deaf Child? Or Rather, Why Not?
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The more geneticists discover about which genes cause what traits, the more medical practitioners as well as ethicists will have to deal with questions such as which of the myriad of identifiable conditions could or should be allowed for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and subsequent implantation via in vitro fertilization. Not a lot of controversy seems to be raised when it comes to performing PGD for serious genetic conditions such as Tay-Sachs disease or Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, but what about other characteristics, for example, those which we normally would call disabilities? This thesis tackles this question, and in partifular the possibility of implanting embryos with that screen positive for deafness, as deaf parents, especially those coming from the Deaf community who see their condition as a positive part of their identity and cultural belongingness, have expressed interest in ensuring the birth of a deaf child. This thesis thus raises the questions: is deafness a disease, or just an unfortunate condition? Are the deaf justified in purposefully implanting a baby diagnosed to be deaf? The thesis tries to grapple with why deaf parents may want deaf children, and show how these wishes may be justified. Concluding that neither the medical model of disease nor the principle-based approach—which weighs beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy and justice—are sufficient in opposing the implantation of deaf babies, it is proposed that a different theory, model or philosophy of health should be espoused if we are still to find the implantation of deaf babies problematic. That is, while the mainstream may ask: “Why ensure the birth of a deaf child?”, we ask, “Why not?” Policymakers and ethicists must be able to tackle this question sufficiently if they would allow to screen for deafness, but only to ensure the birth of hearing children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Centrum för tillämpad etik , 2006. , 48 p.
Keyword [en]
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, medical model of disease, social model of disability, deaf, Deaf community
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-6659ISRN: LIU-CTE-AE-EX--06/05--SEOAI: diva2:21922
2006-06-01, KG46, Key, Linköpings Universitetet, Linköping, 10:00
Available from: 2006-06-09 Created: 2006-06-09

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