Would You Choose to Have a Baby With a Genetic Disorder?Would you have a baby if you knew s/he would have a genetic disease and why?

Expert Answers
marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not sure if I would make the effort to become pregnant if I was aware that I might transfer a genetic disease on to my offspring.  I would take precautions to avoid becoming pregnant if I were aware that there might be a genetic disease in the future of my offspring.

If I were unaware of the possibility of transferring a genetic disease to my offspring until after conception, I might have to have a long hard sit-down/think about the severity of the disease, life-expectance, and level of care involved with a person who might be born with the disease.  (Personally, I am pro-choice prior to conception...but I understand that there are individual issues that go beyond my religious/political beliefs) The opportunity for research and treatment for genetic disease is improving with the DNA mapping technology and discoveries of the human genome. So, again, depending on the level of severity, I might have a child with a genetic disorder and hope that technology is there to help my child to have a decent and productive life in spite of the problems associated with the genetic disease.

I am a special education teacher, and I know that many people have problems in life. The beauty is that even though persons have handicapping conditions and life limiting problems, they still contribute.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Would You Choose to Have a Baby With a Genetic Disorder?

Would you have a baby if you knew s/he would have a genetic disease and why?

  Yes, I would have a baby that I knew was going to have a genetic disorder!  I am deeply religious and believe that God is the giver of life, and as such, it is not up to me or anyone else to tamper with that life.  Who am I to decide if that yet unborn child deserves to come in a damaged body or not?  Many precious spirits come down here in less-than-perfect bodies and they give unmeasurable joy to the parents and families they are born to.  My son and his wife became the parents of a Downs baby boy, born with multiple birth defects.  During the five months he was here, he gave everyone who came in contact with him his incredible love, and whenever I was in his presence, I felt like I was in the company of angels.  He brought us all a little closer to Heaven!  I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything, and my son and his family feel the same way.  Yes, it's hard to see them suffer and not be able to do the same things as normal people do, but there's a reason for their being here.  Anyone who would want to snuff out their life in the act of abortion is a coward!

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What needs to be taken into consideration is the uniqueness of the human condition. Of course it is vital that life-limiting or inhibiting conditions be given due consideration when the plan to continue with a pregnancy is being made, but we need to broaden our minds as to what is 'normal' in society. It is virtually impossible to gauge the quality of someone else's life without their input on our level using our social codes. Down's Syndrome is a typical genetic disorder that we seek to eliminate with overt or covert genetic engineering. Yet by doing this we lose loving, caring and astute individuals who may not 'dance to our tune' but have a unique 'music' of their own. We are working against the principal of natural selection when we take action in such cases - and we do not know the long term implications of this tampering: we could be advancing our own extinction when we think we are building a master race.

mr-angel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that the choice to have children is a human responsibility that many people take lightly (until the decision is upon them)  The economic and family structure as well as health concerns should warrant serious consideration.  If you knew by researching your family history that your child would have a 50% chance to have a serious genetic disorder, it is irresponsible to ignore this possibility.  I believe that I could raise an adopted child rather than chancing a tough existence on my new child.  Would you flip a coin on an existing child and gouge out one of thier eyes if it landed on heads?  Some prospective parents are doing this through their lack of education and responsibility.

codigodavida eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The shortest answer is: it depends on you!

  1. Whether the baby is already conceived or not.
  2. Whether the disease is such that a normal life can be pursued under appropriate treatment.
  3. Whether your values are such that it worthwhile to care for a child that might compromise your own freedom completely.

Eugenic abortion is a possible alternative to the third one, economical status might be a factor on the second, and self-restraint would definitely determine the first.

I hope this was clear and concise enough.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I saw a touching news story recently about a couple who found out during the course of the pregnancy that their child would only survive for a day or two because of a significant birth defect. They chose to go through the pregnancy and spent the few hours of their newborn's life celebrating him and making photographs. Their family and friends were with them through the whole thing. It was one of the saddest, yet joyful things I had ever seen.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Without a doubt, a baby with special needs is more challenging in terms of care.  However, every child is a gift.  Every child is worthy of love.  Sometimes it is the child with special needs who teaches us more about love and tolerance than the "normal" child. 

I do not believe in abortion.  It is murder, plain and simple.  All children are gifts...there are no mistakes.  Difficult or not, I would have the child.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like all moral issues, this question must be answered individually.  There is no right answer, only what is right for the parents involved, and only they can determine that. If they choose to birth or to abort, so be it.  Should anyone disagree, consider if you decided one way, only to have someone else dictate to you that you're deciding the other way.  No one has the right to enforce his or her belief on someone else.

stahlerf55 | Student

What a deeply personal question.  I am not even sure I would know how I would respond.  Yes I do, I would have the child and love it with all the love given for me to give.  If I knew I had the possibility of passing on a genetic disorder I don't know what I would do.  I can say, my mother would not have had myself or my sister if she had chosen to not give birth because of the chance of us having breast cancer as she utimately died with.  We are both adults and living happy lives.  Each situation is different and choices we make today are between us and our faith.  If you are student having to weigh this question, boy how you must feel.  I am a mother of two boys.  Both of which inherited allergies from me.  I do feel some what responsible for their conditions, but I would not have chosen not to have them just because of possibly passing it on.  I realize allergies are so simple, but when they lead to life altering reactions I still stick to making the choice to have a child.  (Regardless of their eminant condition)

elfgirl | Student


I think we can all agree that most disabled people gain a cetain quality of life. But only the most extreme equal rights activist would suggest that the ability to correct a defect in a person's gene is a bad thing (and down's syndrome is a defect, however positively you label it) Mental and physical handicaps are just that, handicaps.

My ex-neighbours had a very severely handicapped little boy (in fact, he wasn't little, he was 16, but he looked about 7 and had the mental age of about 18 months) and while he was generally pain-free and was extremely happy, he needed permanent care and would never 'grow up'. In fact, it is most likely that he is dead now as the doctors reckoned he'd live to about 20-25. His life wasn't worthless, but it could have been much much better for him and those around him.

Of course the parents said, "We love him and we'd never change him." But they didn't actually have the choice, so they had to look at it positively. I'm sure that if they could go back and correct his genetic errors, they would. For his sake.

In the same way, parents of the future should be able to de-select genetic disorders and ensure a 'healthy' child.

But I agree with you that it is a very fine line and full of perplexing moral conundrums.

frizzyperm | Student

It depends on the severity of the disorder.

There are some babies who are so severely disabled that their life is very short and full of pain. And while this tragic little life painfully moves towards its unavoidable death, the parents suffer deep and lasting trauma. There is no positive in a situation like this and an abortion of this malformed animal is just and kind. Sometimes the reproduction process makes mistakes.

It is immoral to brow-beat other people that they 'must' bring all the damaged and flawed life into this world, if it can be avoided. Children are not 'gifts from God', they are the products of their parent's DNA. There are mistakes in this process. Abortion is not a crime nor a sin, it is the removal of a miniscule pin-prick of a few human cells that have failed to form properly.

As for the claimed religious nature of conception in Post 4, (ie that a 'soul' enters at the precise moment the sperm fuses with the egg)... what happens to this soul when, as sometimes happens, the bundle of cells doubling and doubling, accidently doubles and separates into two bundles, leading to identical twins. How will these two human cope with only one soul?

tema09 | Student

Well personally, I would have this child , because I gave life to it and I cannot just take it away as soon as I got to know its going to have a genetic disease as first:

  • I was the reason why it is alive
  • it is God's wish
  • I cannot kill a soul that I created

Yes, I agree that you can just not accept it because it is dificult to handle this situation when the "baby" grows, but this would be your faith in life, and you  have got to accept it.. It's like  buying an egg; you don't know if its cracked because it's in the package but you bought it and you need to face the consequences..

this is just an opinion of mine..


krishna-agrawala | Student

I am quite clear in my mind that if I knew my child is going to have a serious genetic defect, which will be a handicap for my child, then I would prefer not to give life to such child. This is for the simple reason that, to the extent I can help, I do not want my children to have any handicap in life. I don't want my loved ones to suffer, even if it means to have no one to love. But of course, people with genetic defects do have the option of adopting other children.

However I must also make it very clear that if I did have a child with any handicap, genetic or otherwise, I would still love and cherish him or her to the same extent as a normal child.