Ironically, this news leaves me Speechless.

Deaf demand right to designer deaf children

“DEAF parents should be allowed to screen their embryos so they can pick a deaf child over one that has all its senses intact, according to the chief executive of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (RNID).”

How about you let the kids grow up and become of age, and then they can decide if they want to be deliberately deafened then, eh? Oh wait, that’d NEVER FUCKING HAPPEN, would it?

Some people need a bullet.


  1. I’m curious whether significant numbers of people in any other handicapped group think the same way. All the reports I’ve seen of that sort of attitude seem to involve deaf people, as opposed to, say, blind or paraplegic people.

    • I have read a story about a family that adopted a Downs Syndrome child and then when the adopted and natural kids were adults or teens the mum got pregnant again. The baby was born was Downs and the parents really grieved over that for a little while, however their Downs daughter and all her Downs friends were really pleased that they baby was Downs.

    • Deafness is distinct from other disabilities in that it’s also a (actually more than one) language community.

      People living in foreign countries tend to congregate with people who speak their own language. This isn’t usually because they hate the locals, but simply because they value the opportunity to express themselves without sounding like a child or an idiot. It’s tiring and frustrating trying to talk in a different language all day. The same is true for deaf people, except that the condition is permanent. The community is small and threatened. Most of the people in it have experienced some degree of prejudice in their lives.

      Under these circumstances, I think it’s understandable that the prospect of having a hearing child can be a fearful one for deaf parents. It’s somewhat akin to telling a Palestinian family that their children are going to grow up speaking Hebrew, and they’re going to have to teach it to them. For most people that’s difficult but tolerable, but for an extreme fringe it’s unacceptable.

      Which is not to say I think they’re right, just that it’s a more deeply emotive issue than having or not having a disability.

  2. I’m all for being open minded but I’m going to pop this one in the “Fucking Stupid” basket.

  3. Yeah I’ve heard of this before and was frankly pretty disgusted last time too. There is the whole ‘Deaf isn’t a disability’ thing, but you’re right, they wouldn’t leave it up to their child to decide in adulthood.

  4. When a Deaf child is born into a Deaf family, the Deaf community will converge from miles around to celebrate. I don’t share the attitude, but I do understand it. From a purely practical point of view, imagine how much easier it is for Deaf parents to raise a Deaf child than a hearing one.

    Deaf is more than a disability, it’s an entire culture, and one that originates from protracted discrimination, therefore has that tightness and defensiveness. I’ve said before that trying to interact with the Deaf community for us has been like trying to get accepted in a small rural town – in France. The attitude to cochlear implants from __some__ Deaf parents is much like the atttitude I’d have to straight parents wanting their gay kids ‘straightened’ – being straight is more normal, after all, and makes life easier. What if gay parents want to select for gay offspring?

    But. For the majority of the Deaf community, CDPs (hearing children of deaf parents) are tremendously valued.

  5. Interesting comparison to gay/straight families and deaf/hearing families – the rough equivalent is the gay parents raping the fuck out of their diminuitive and technically pre-sexual offspring until they got the taste for homosexuality, or at least accepted it as “normal”.

    I remember this deaf-isn’t-disabled palaver came out some years ago and I wrote a plea for the creation of flipper-babies – allowing thalidomide to be used to engender stumpy babies. That didn’t go down well..

    • Either way though, in this situation, an embryo gets terminated. Why kill the deaf embryo? Because that’s the choice. Someone gets flushed, either hearing or deaf. As for the deaf embryo, I suspect that she/he would rather be born than not.

  6. I get the feeling that this is a deliberately provocative press release to get people to think about what sort of embryos would be rejected if they were screened and why.

    A lot of deaf people do not consider their deafness to be a disability. Indeed, if you’re born deaf and grow up in a supportive deaf family and community, then you wouldn’t really have grounds to consider yourself “disabled” or “handicapped”. Sure, you’d find some prejudices in life, but prejudice isn’t restricted to physical disability.

    • The parents just want more love-units.

      There is plenty of potential for children to be raised in supportive environments without contriving a disability.

      Contriving a child to have a restrictive and potentially fatal condition such as deafness is no better than deliberately infecting the child with an incurable and potentially fatal disease to allow it to better fit within a similarly infected community.

      Understandably, the parents just want to feel loved.

  7. If we genetically engineer FutureKidz(tm) to have the ability to kill yaks using Mind Bullets, or make peoples heads explode, I could argue that I who cannot do that am not really disabled when compared to them.

    I personally wouldn’t make that argument, as I’d be totally wrong. GIVE ME THE MIND BULLETS! I WANT HEAD EXPLODEY!

    Senses are input channels for our brainmeats. As I type this, I have facebook and livejournal open on my main monitor, a web page monitoring my torrents on the secondary, an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 playing on monitor 3, and a whole other monitor on another computer which is displaying processes running on my shiny new MTA server (so I can keep an eye on mail flow on the new machine). I also have a copy of “Peace Kills” by P.J O’Rourke which I’m reading bits of in between other stuff.

    I want MORE senses. There’s a simple body mod you can get which implants small rare earth magnets in the fingertips – this lets you sense when a cable you’re touching has any power in it or not. I want that.

    There’s an augmented reality trial which lets you surround yourself with iconogrpahy indicating your current mood, busyness, inclination to communicate on various subjects, etc. As well as background, ethnic, religious and sexual tribal identification, etc. I want that.

    There’s talk of contact lenses which act as photon amps across arbitrary ranges of the spectrum. You’d be able to select which bits gets amplified or converted into visible light for your eyes – infrared, ultraviolet. Hell maybe even into the radio bands. I want that.

    Sure, you could point and say “ADHD-I, bitch! Look it up!” and hey – you might be right. But I _want_ this data like a crackhead wants another hit. And the notion of deliberately turning off an input channel – of _deliberately lowering the bandwidth into your brain_, well … it gives me the jibblies, and no mistake.

  8. No matter which way you cut it making sure a child is born with a disability is child abuse pure and simple, can you imagine how you’d feel if you knew you might have been born with two arms but your parents decided you should be born with none so you’d be just like them?

    Parents seem to think they have a bunch of rights over children that they just don’t have, the right to fuck up your childs life is not a right I’m going to ever support, this includes home schooling and teaching religion to children, children are vulnerable and impressionable at a very young age and will believe any old shit their so called well meaning parents foist on them.

    Children have enough reasons to look back on their childhood and see how fucked their parents were without artificially creating more.

    If my parents had made sure I was deaf when I found out I would disown them.

    It’s just evil.

    • “the right to fuck up your childs life is not a right I’m going to ever support, this includes home schooling”


      What’s so bad about homeschooling?

    • Do you mean homeschooling in general or just homeschooling in order to shield your child from ideologies different from your own? If it’s the latter I agree whole-heartedly, if the former then you are painting with a very, very broad brush and I cannot concur.

      • Sorry yes I wasn’t that clear, I was mostly refering to people who home school their children in order that they don’t socialise with the profane.

        Though I would argue that home schooling not coupled with adequate social interaction with children of a similar age could be detrimental.