Reader-land, this is a suggestion from Mel, no less, after a chat we had about some testing I had done. It’s not often that Mel says, “let slip the dogs of war!” so I’m going to make the most of it!
I got tested for genetic patterns of ALS earlier this year. I’m negative. I’m pretty sure I told you that in the past. What I didn’t mention was the extensive counseling that was recommended for us if it was positive. Yes, it would have bearing on my kids, my siblings, etc, and that kind of counseling is a good thing. I’m all for testing to see if I or my kids have a predisposition to get cancer, or ALS, or whatever. We are well served in knowing the difficulties we will face. But I was encountering something else.
When we were encouraged to have prenatal genetic testing, I refused. To what purpose? The facility we were attending was not against abortions, so I did not want any potential negative diagnosis to then become a pressuring to abort. Because that is wrong, and contrary to what the media says, doctors DO pressure patients, especially when there is a medical diagnosis. In other words, if the baby isn’t perfect, abortion becomes an option.
The instance in this new case was, if I was genetically positive and I wanted to have kids, it was suggested to go get In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, then pick the embryo that didn’t have the gene. I am not even kidding!
But Joe, you say, why would you want your kid to have ALS? I don’t. I don’t want anyone to have it. Let me explain why I am fired up. No, I’m livid, that a medical professional, my own doctor, would suggest to me this method, which is a backhand way of saying my disease is so bad it would be better if I had never been born. My own damn doctor!
IVF takes eggs from the mom and sperm from the dad and fuses the two into one or multiple embryos, taking the woman out of the biological process. Then they can run tests on the embryos and the couple can choose which one to implant. Sounds incredible, right?
What about the embryos the parents don’t choose? What about the one with the ALS gene? What happens to them? Oh, they are disposed of in biowaste. And that ALS gene is gone! So, what I did was make distinct human beings with their own unique DNA, and decided that because one gene wasn’t the way I wanted, I would dispose of the imperfect embryos. What the actual hell?
Think about this. The process being suggested is not different than eugenics policies of the late 19th and 20th centuries. They didn’t have IVF, so they focused on birth control of the unfit. The unfit. The Nazis took that ideology and expanded it as “life unworthy of life”. I realize I am using the Nazi argument but the eugenics movement lives on. The ability to splice genes or create designer babies is encouraging the same ideology.
Let me put it more bluntly. If I was the embryo with the ALS gene, I wouldn’t be typing this. I’d be dead among the biowaste.
Oh, Joe, your overreacting! No, I am seeing the big picture. Think about any loved one with problems. My sweet niece Kathryn has a heart condition. If she was in the dish, would she have been chosen? Or my sister who has a heart condition? Or me, with ALS? Hell no and you know it!
What society is telling people like us is that our lives are not worth living. Life unworthy of life. That the circumstances of our medical conditions outweigh any positives that may happen by us being alive. It’s eugenics, weeding out the unfit. The humanity of the diseased is worth less than the healthy.
Let’s talk about the embryos in the dish. You can’t test the sperm or eggs separately, they have to fertilize and become a zygote and grow until they can be tested. That is a separate human being, right there, every single one! If put into their natural state each one would grow and be born. But because they are in a dish and might be imperfect they are not treated as human, but just tissue to be disposed of.
I’m going to ask you plainly, would you agree? Would I or others with complicated diseases be better off dead, thrown out of the dish? I don’t think so. My life is far more than any disease, terminal or otherwise. Anyone’s life is. As much as my kids look like me, they are not me and can never be. I’m the only me, ever.
The world says no. To create the embryo in the dish then dispose of that human life, that is saying no. The eugenics movement is alive and well.