28 September 2007

Here's a question

What do we do about down's syndrome? Assuming we do end up with a child, right now there is a significant chance of us having at least one child with down's syndrome. Greater than 1%. With possibly three embryos, that means there is a small chance of multiple down's syndrome children. Terrifying, yes.

Most parents who find that their child has down's syndrome early in the pregnancy end up terminating the pregnancy. Given the difficulty we have creating a viable embryo, is it worth the chance of not having another child at all? That depends on what we, as parents, want to get out of creating a living human being. Knowing that my drive for having a child is primarily instinctual, I would say having a healthy and productive child is important. I may possibly prefer instinctually to bring no life into this world rather than to bring a burden into this world.

What about the embryo's life? It's not close to viable life outside the womb by the time we can discover down's syndrome. Its hard to truly call it a child, though at some point it becomes more definitively human. Given that I felt a sense of responsibility for the life of 8 celled organisms, I suspect that I will want to keep the embryo with down’s syndrome alive as well.

Tough call.

--e (forgot the all important stoned e)

2 comments:

Toast said...

I would terminate. I mean, that's easy for me to say, as it's purely a hypothetical, but I really think I would. A big part of being human is being intelligent. (Examples to the contrary abound, but I think you know what I mean.)

Eric Wilde said...

Intelligence is another difficult issue. I, too, highly value intelligence. Hirono seems a little less concerned about it (hence her ability to stick with me.) What do I feel about having a C- child? That's a topic for another post. This post is more about severe mental retardation.

As a young man I worked in a grocery store. Next door to the grocery store was a home for mentally retarded adults. I came to know a number of them, their personalities and their habits. I must say, for some of them I wonder if their life was worth living. For some of them, however, they clearly had a fulfilling life with friendship, ambition, love, hate, frustration and sorrow. They never will be highly productive members of society; but, they can count their change and read their receipts. Who am I to take away their life?