Would you terminate your pregnancy if you found out your baby wasn't "perfect"?
I thank God every day for the advances we've made in technology and genetics. Thanks to Cochlear Implants, my son who is profoundly deaf, "hears" and speaks like any other teen. In fact, you wouldn't even be able to tell that he's deaf! Shortly after his diagnosis, we had him tested to identify whether his hearing loss was genetic. We were told that if they could identify the specific gene that caused it, we could find out whether he'd be only deaf or whether he would also have issues with his eyes, heart or kidneys.
Read more ¿Qué Más?: What my special needs child has taught me about life is priceless!
As you can imagine, I wanted to be prepared for the worst! So, we had him tested and found out that his deafness was genetic and that the gene he carried (Connexin 26) causes only deafness. What a relief!
We also found out that the chance of having other deaf children was extremely high. A friend asked me if I would consider having another child knowing that he or she could be deaf. I replied yes without hesitation.
Michael has brought only happiness, tolerance, and a whole new understanding of what communication means to our family and those who know him. I can't imagine our lives without him! I would assume if you asked a mom of a child with Down Syndrome, the response would be the same.
As prenatal screening and testing increases in sophistication, I suspect in the near future you'll be able to know the risk or presence of birth defects that go beyond Cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome. What about expectant moms who will be able to terminate their pregnancy because of defects like deafness, blindness, or even because they are missing a body part? My perspective is that whatever decision an individual makes, it is their decision and no one else's. However, it's heart wrenching to think about a mom terminating their pregnancy for a "defect" such as deafness.
Image via Trevor Bair/Flickr