This past weekend, The Sunday New York Times ran this story, about couples who go through the process of In-Vitro fertilization NOT because because they are infertile, but because the doctors can identify the possibility of disease-causing genes when the embryo sits in a petri dish and contains just 8 cells. Think about that for a second! The article isn’t focused on the wonders of modern medicine, though; its focus is on the controversy around not proceeding with the implantation of an embryo because that embryo might become a pregnancy and the baby might have that defective gene and might, later in life, contract a hereditary disease such as cancer, Huntington’s Disease or some kind of neurological disorder.
Putting aside the usual conservative vs. liberal issues here, what you’re effectively dealing with in a situation like this is what most of us went through in high school: you’re only a part of the in-crowd if you’re perfect. Except with this, it’s LIFE: you’re only part of the human race if you don’t show a possibility of contracting a disease. The article presents parents and parents-to-be who feel entirely comfortable making that decision and others who don’t. It’s a terribly interesting read.
I’m not going to sit here and define what makes a pregnancy and what doesn’t, but I do know that if cancer or some horribly debilitating disease ran rampant through my family and I carried that gene with a high likelihood of passing it on, I’d probably want to do whatever I could to prevent it. Choosing to go the physically and mentally demanding IVF route for that express purpose? To each their own, I suppose.
NP: Bruce Springsteen: “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”