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October 17, 2002
Designer Disabilities...to go with those

Designer Disabilities...to go with those new jeans

Hmph. I guess it had to happen. Designer babies are in the news.

Specifically, the question of whether or not physicians should help people who want to make babies with what are today considered handicaps in everyday life. (ID peevish PASSWORD peevish)

"A deaf lesbian couple in the U.S. have deliberately created a deaf child by selecting as a sperm donor a deaf friend with five generations of deafness in his family, according to a report in the Oct. 5 issue of the British Medical Journal. Both members of the couple are mental health professionals who view their deafness and communication by signing not as a disability, but as defining their unique cultural identity."

A "unique cultural identity", hmmm?

Y'know, I don't know about that. I mean, I don't agree at all with the idea of people trying to create some kind of "super babies" but I'm not sure about "building in" what I'd consider to be a handicap, either.

I can see it now...it's like a science fiction novel. Some day we'll have a society stratified not by money but by genetic selection. Those who have "chosen" deafness, or had it chosen for them, versus those who have had blindness or dwarfism chosen for them. And somewhere in the shadows will live a vocal minority of people who just have babies...whatever babies they have, defying the cultural fad for design-your-own children. They will, of course, be persecuted and treated as dangerous, "back-to-nature" radicals.

It's an interesting article, and well worth reading. (For what it's worth, the doctor interviewed comes out firmly on the side of medicine confining itself to treating disease and not becoming a shopping mall for designing custom offspring.)


In other medicine-related news, how many of you have ever thought about Hepatitis C?

This disease is as deadly as AIDS and even less treatable. As a matter of fact, some experts have announced that the number of Hepatitis C victims already outnumbers the number of AIDS-infected people worldwide.

You can check out epidemic.org for interesting information. It's a little out of date, which means little except that the number of infected worldwide has climbed since this website was published.

Like the AIDS virus, most people infected with HepC, up to 170,000,000 people (that's 170 million) worldwide, don't know. By the time they develop symptoms, the disease is moving toward the final stages.

And, like AIDS, a lot more can be done for someone in the early stages than later on.

I'm just saying. If you're scheduled for a physical, why not fork over the extra bucks and get tested?

Posted by AnneZook at 12:23 PM