Deafness and Prenatal Testing: A Study Analysis

Internet Journal of Family Practice 14 (1) (2016)
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The Deaf culture in the United States is a unique culture that is not widely understood. To members of the Deaf community in the United States, deafness is not viewed as a disease or pathology to be treated or cured; instead it is seen as a difference in human experience. Members of this community do not hide their deafness; instead they take great pride in their Deaf identity. The Deaf culture in the United States is very communitarian not individualistic. Mary Beth and Dominic are a married couple in their late 20s who are genetically deaf. They are active members in the Deaf community and work as advocates for individuals who are deaf, family members of Deaf people and sign language interpreters who identify with the Deaf culture. Mary Beth and Dominic approach the fertility clinic with a request that they only want a child with the genetic gene for deafness. They would want the embryos that do not have the gene to be destroyed. This would entail creating a child who would have the gene for deafness. Medically and ethically, should the fertility clinic agree to the couple’s request? The authors argue that the couple's request should be denied and provide reasons for it from the perspectives of foundational and clinical ethics.

Author Profiles

Ben Chan
National Institutes of Health
Marvin Lee
La Salle University


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