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Is wanting a deaf baby if you are a deaf couple ethical or unethical and for what reasons?

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Desire to Have a Deaf Baby CONSENSUS on this page seems to be:

1. Deaf parents wanting to adopt a deaf baby (one already born deaf) is ethical and probably advantageous, laudable.

2. Deaf parents wanting to create a deaf baby (removing its ability to hear through genetic manipulation or other means) is unethical, because it reduces choice and opportunity for the child.
* * *individual opinions * * *

Assuming you are talking about adopting a deaf child, I think that would be a wonderful thing for a deaf couple to do. So very many special needs children are in need of loving homes, yet get passed over for numerous reasons. A deaf couple who adopts a deaf child would be in an excellent position to love, raise and teach a deaf child because they have their own experiences to draw from.
On the other hand, if a you mean you want to have a biological child and hope your child is deaf? I think that is very selfish and you may be too immature at this point to be considering having a baby. While deafness is a disability many people not only live with but overcome it to live fulfilling lives - successful business people, celebrities, etc., why would you wish for your child to be anything less than perfectly healthy in every way like any normal prospective parent does? And if your child ''is'' born with perfect hearing, will you still be able to love him or her the way you should? Or will you feel disappointment?
I don't think ethics have anything to do with it. It's more a matter of maturity and selflessness. No matter whether you adopt or have biological children, no matter whether your child has disabilities of any kind or whether he is perfectly healthy, being a parent means you must very often be selfless and make sacrifices - and be mature enough accept this and to deal with what nature hands you.
I think you already know the answer to your question, don't you? In you heart you know you are not GOD. And don't forget all of those beautiful, and otherwise healthy deaf children who are just waiting for a loving family.
  • I think there is nothing wrong with it. If you feel that it is what you want to do, then it is ethical. Only you can determine the ethical value of the decision you decide to make. Do what you feel is right by you.
  • And how about the rights of the child ? If I grew up, and found out that my parents went out of their way to have a baby that was deaf, I would be angry at them. Deafness is a huge challenge to over-come, even when it happens naturally. If it was part of a parental plan, I'd feel ilke some kind of a freak, the result of some twisted idea of "equality".
  • What do a child's rights have to do with this? If a child is already deaf or is destined to be born deaf, rights or even fairness have little to do with it.


I don't think it is possible to deliberately choose to give birth to a deaf child. Unless I've missed something genetic researchers are trying to find a way to do away with birth defects, not create them.
What would be unethical, in my opinion, would be for a geneticist (if the technology were commonly available) to help create a child with a 'birth defect.' Then I would have to agree with the above argument.
Just imagine the sticky legal issues that would be involved if such things were possible: the child's rights, the parents' rights', womens' rights; ethics, religion, politics...it's enough to make one's head spin.
I don't exactly think it's right for a couple to hope their baby is deaf, but since I am not deaf, I can't look at this from their point of view. Perhaps they feel unsure of their ability to raise a child who can hear? I still don't think that is a good reason, but I think I could, at least, understand it. I don't know that I would be up to properly raising and teaching a deaf child. Nevertheless, it would be MY child and I'd do anything and everything I could to the best of my ability to give that child a normal life.
As for adoption, every child deserves to have a loving family. If a couple, deaf or otherwise, chooses to adopt a child with a disability, then, more power to them, I say. Not everyone has the ability, strength, patience, or compassion to do this and I admire those who do.
  • There is nothing wrong with hoping for or wanting a Deaf child. Although I do agree with statements above about genetically manipulating your baby to be Deaf, I don't think that this would be right in any way, such as trying to give your child blue eyes or any other specific characteristic. I am Deaf myself, but was born hearing. I became Deaf at the age of 2 due to meningitis, so it is no more likely for me than for anyone else to have a Deaf child. I plan to adopt, because I want at least one Deaf child in the family. Wishes and hopes are not unethical.
  • I have a feeling the above answers have gone in a different direction than the questioner intended? Presumably, you're asking if it's okay to seek specifically to ADOPT a child who is deaf?


In answer to that, it's not only ok, it's wonderful! Any adopted child struggles with feeling a sense of differentness and "unbelonging" with regard to their adoptive family. Any way that the adoptive family can truly relate to and understand the child's needs is valuable. Adoption workers and agencies (especially those dealing with children with special needs) struggle to find families that are, for example, racially similar to the children they're trying to adopt. Naturally, many people (myself included) have adopted children of a different race than they are, but it is in many ways easier for the child to be adopted by a family of the same race as they are. I'm given to understand that the deaf community is strongly bonded as a "sub-culture," and I can only imagine how helpful it might be to a deaf child to be adopted by deaf parents.
Somewhere in my research, I think I've seen an organization specifically geared toward helping to place children with hearing loss ... but I can't remember where. Perhaps a web search of "deaf child adoption agency" might help?
  • I'm an interpreter married to a Deaf man who may or may not pass on his deafness. We have no intention of doing anything to intentionally create a Deaf baby, but we know the odds and it is entirely possible that we may do so and that's fine with us. We have as much of a right to have a child as anyone else and if this child is Deaf, we know what to do and will be thrilled to pass on the knowlege of ASL and Deaf Culture. It will more than likely be hearing, and that's great too.
  • If you want to adopt a deaf child, I think that's great. It's not unethical because a deaf couple has more knowledge and could better help a deaf baby.
  • The child will be well served with parents who are able to "speak" ASL and understand where they are coming from. You would be the perfect parents for a deaf child.



  • Deaf parents adopting deaf children sounds like a great idea, they'd likely be especially well-equipped for it.

  • As for deliberately choosing to create such a child (which is not only possible, but has now happened. Copy/paste this address for news story: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/04/08/1017206314691.HTML )… Well, the clearest single-sentence definition of a good parent is one who wants her/his child to have a better life than he or she had. *Not* the same - *better*. This includes hoping her/his child will be born with more advantages and fewer weaknesses and vulnerabilities -of *any* kind- than he was. To wish anything less for your child -especially if you act on it- is child abuse. Its more subtle than a black eye - and much more damaging. The couple who deliberately caused their baby to be born deaf have committed a clearly unethical act and should be prosecuted for child abuse, and the child should be taken out of that home by Child Protective Services before any further harm comes to it, and placed with a loving family who would never knowingly bring harm to their child.


Well, this is just my personal opinion, no medical advice or psychological answers. I have never really been around many deaf people but I can understand both sides of it seeming like a good thing and a bad thing. It could be a good thing because both of you are deaf and might find it easier to communicate with your child and your child may be able to appreciate things that those who can hear may take for granted. But I am sure you and your spouse have had difficulties with being deaf and have at some point wanted to have the ability to hear and as a parent is your responsibility to want the best for your child. If you are wanting a deaf child so that he/she may be able to appreciate things in life that others take for granted it is not a bad reason in my opinion. But if you are wanting a deaf baby so that you can communicate better or so that your child does not have something from life that you and your spouse never had that can be seen as kind of a selfish reason in my opinion. I wish you the best of of luck with your baby.
In my opinion, yes. I find it very unethical to want a child with a disability. I understand your reasoning, and I am not condemning wanting a tie to your child. I understand that you want to be able to communicate with your child and have something in commong. However, my issue is why would you want your child to have a disability? Why would you want your child to go through so much more suffering? I am pretty sure that after a certain amount of time, your child will get used to it, and I understand that life is hard, but still. Is that what you want for them?
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